7.5/10
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75 user 44 critic

Kiss of Death (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | September 1947 (USA)
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2:20 | Trailer

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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 »
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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:

From her lips there is no escape! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When New York mobster Joe Gallo--a vicious killer known as "Crazy Joe"--was starting out as a small-time hoodlum, he saw this movie and instantly idolized Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark). Afterwards, Gallo began wearing his suits with black shirts and white ties in emulation of Udo. He also began acting in a more crazed manner, thus giving rise to his "Crazy Joe" persona, which lasted until the gangster's death in 1972, when he was murdered by rival gangsters in Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy. See more »

Goofs

While talking to convict Nick Bianco (Victor Mature) the Prison's Warden (Howard Smith) calls him "D'Angelo" ; which was the name of the Assistant District Attorney (Brian Donlevy). See more »

Quotes

Nettie: Nick Bianco hadn't worked for a year. He had a record - a prison record. They say it shouldn't count against you but when Nick tried to get a job the same thing always happened: "Very sorry." No prejudice, of course, but no job either. So this is how Nick went Christmas shopping for his kids.
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

Featured in At the Movies: Villains: So Bad, They're Good (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Street Scene
(uncredited)
Music by Alfred Newman
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User Reviews

Good crime drama
15 June 2000 | by EW-3See all my reviews

This film is "required reading" in the study of gangster films, mostly because of Richard Widmark's exceptional and truly frightening performance as Tommy Udo. Interestingly enough, 43 years later, actor Joe Pesci would also terrify movie audiences with his portrayal of another psychopathic gangster, who also had the rather benign name of 'Tommy'. However, unlike Pesci, Widmark never had another particularly memorable gangster role after this one.

While a lot of the story is realistic, some of it is far-fetched - mainly, the end. Only a complete lunatic would even think of walking into the headquarters of a gangster that he had just testified against and expect to come out alive. However, the tension in that restaurant confrontation scene is effective, and I suppose for the era in which this film was made, it was necessary to have the 'good hero' face down the 'bad bully' and put him in his place. In reality, of course, it just doesn't happen that way in the world of crime.

But what makes this film is Widmark, and to give an idea of just how effective he was, when this film first came out, a real-life NYC mobster(Joey Gallo) would watch it and earnestly try to imitate Widmark's style and mannerisms, thereby enhancing his own skill in intimidating others. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


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