7.4/10
7,089
83 user 45 critic

Kiss of Death (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | September 1947 (USA)
Trailer
2:21 | Trailer
Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

Ben Hecht (screenplay), Charles Lederer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Victor Mature ... Nick Bianco
Brian Donlevy ... Assistant D.A. Louis D'Angelo
Coleen Gray ... Nettie
Richard Widmark ... Tommy Udo
Taylor Holmes ... Earl Howser--Attorney
Howard Smith ... Warden
Karl Malden ... Sgt. William Cullen
Anthony Ross ... 'Big Ed' Williams
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Storyline

Small-time crook Nick Bianco gets caught in a jewel heist and despite urgings from well-meaning district attorney D'Angelo, refuses to rat on his partners and goes to jail, assured that his wife and children will be taken care of. Learning that his depressed wife has killed herself, Nick informs on his ex-pals and is paroled. Nick remarries, gets a job and begins leading a happy life when he learns one of the men he informed on, psychopathic killer Tommy Udo, has been released from custody and is out for revenge against Nick and his family. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It will mark you for life as it marked him for... Betrayal See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times on Widmark's performance: "His timing and tension are perfect and the timbre of his voice is that of filthy water going down a sewer". See more »

Goofs

While talking to convict Nick Bianco (Victor Mature) for the first time, the Assistant District Attorney (Brian Donlevy), on saying goodbye, calls him "D'Angelo," the name of his own character. See more »

Quotes

Warden: Did he write this himself?
Sing Sing Guard: Yes, sir.
Warden: Good handwriting.
Sing Sing Guard: He's not a bad guy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the theatrical release in Manitoba, the shot of the woman in the wheelchair going down the staircase had to be shortened. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Street Scene
(uncredited)
Music by Alfred Newman
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User Reviews

A Tale Of Two Crooks - One With A Heart, One Without One
13 May 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This was a 1940s film noir with a little bit different slant: the main character "Nick Bianco" (Victor Mature) being a caring father. Here's a guy torn between being a crook most of his life and the damage it did to him mentally, but at heart a real softie who is desperate to go straight and just be a regular family guy with everyone leaving him alone. In the story, he turns "stoolie" so he can earn that freedom and be that family man.

Among film noir buffs, however, this film is noted more for Richard Widmark's debut as the sadistic "Tommy Udo." One of the most famous noir scenes of all time is "Udo" throwing an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs! Widmark puts on a fake pair of choppers giving him an exaggerated overbite to go along with his insane little giggle. He also calls everyone a "squirt." His over- the-top performance puts a lot a spark into this film which, otherwise would have wound up more as a melodrama.

Two other actors have key roles in here: Brian Donlevy and Colleen Gray (making her credited film debut, too1). Donlevey plays a character who never see in modern-day films: a compassionate district attorney who goes out of his way to help "Nick." It's refreshing to see, for a change. Gray becomes Nick's love interest and is a very appealing wholesome type, as are the two sweet little girls Nick had with his former wife who killed herself while Nick was in prison. Gray becomes the step-mother.

Although not spectacular, the film is entertaining, especially the suspenseful last 20 minutes. It's quite dated in spots but Widmark's character alone is worth investigating this film if you've never seen it. I'm surprised there aren't more reviews of this.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stoolpigeon See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,520,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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