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Henry Hathaway’s nasty New York-shot noir is famed for iconic tough-guy Richard Widmark’s sensational (and Oscar-nominated) screen debut. Widmark plays cackling, sadistic hoodlum Tommy Udo. Victor Mature, headlining, is criminal and convict Nick Bianco, whose decision to turn stool pigeon for the sake of his kids sends him on a collision course with the psychopathic Udo. The hard-hitting script is by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer. The cinematography, contrasting documentary-like exteriors with highly-stylized interiors, is by Norbert Brodine, who shortly afterwards shot Jules Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway (also screening in this series). Widmark’s maniacal performance, apparently inspired by The Joker in Batman comics, likely influenced Heath Ledger’s take on The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, “Tense, terrifying ... with an unusually authentic seamy atmosphere” (Pauline Kael).
Opening Night sponsored by Earnest Ice Cream
"Henry Hathaway has squeezed every last drop of suspense out of the story through his carefully paced direction ... A most satisfying entertainment."New York Times | full review
"Classic film noir ... Mr. Widmark's thug is the essence of cool."Wall Street Journal | full review