Kiss Of Death – Complete movie – Film Noir. Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark.
Richard Widmark’s bravura debut as snickering gangster Tommy Udo,
and particularly his infamous encounter with an old woman in a wheelchair,
enjoys such pop cachet that the movie itself has been somewhat underrated.
Mores the pity. Henry Hathaway’s third entry in 20th Century Fox’s
series of post WWII thrillers is just about the best of the bunch.
These films incorporated the semi-documentary techniques and wondrously
persuasive on-location shooting Hollywood learned from Italian neorealism
and the wartime filming of some of its own best directors.
Kiss of Death is more fictional than documentary in thrust,
with a solid script by ace screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer.
But that only makes its imaginative, atmospheric use of real places and spaces
e.g., a superb opening robbery sequence in a New York skyscraper the more remarkable.