YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 27: Kiss of Death (1947)

Kiss of Death (1947) is one of those noirs that I knew about before I saw it. This is the one where Richard Widmark tosses a wheelchair-bound old lady down a flight of stairs.

How could you not want to check out a movie with a scene like that?

But there’s more to this film than Widmark’s psychopathic character (and his maniacal laugh), including a cast featuring Victor Mature, Coleen Gray, and Karl Malden; direction by Henry Hathaway; and a screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer. (More about them below.) It’s a must see!


Mature stars as Nick Bianco, a career criminal who’s nabbed by the police during a bungled robbery attempt. After first declining the D.A.’s offer of leniency if he’ll squeal on his pals, Bianco later decides to cooperate, spurred by his responsibility for his two young daughters.


This film marked Richard Widmark’s debut. From his first scene, you could see that he was something special.

Director Henry Hathaway helmed one of my YouTube recommendations for earlier this month, Fourteen Hours (1951). His non-noir pedigree included Peter Ibbetson (1935); The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), and three segments from How the West Was Won (1962).

What a debut!

Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer were an acclaimed screenwriting team, responsible for the 1947 noir Ride the Pink Horse and Monkey Business, the 1952 Cary Grant comedy. (Incidentally, Lederer was raised by his aunt, actress Marion Davies.)


Join me for my next YouTube recommendation on Day 28 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 27, 2020.

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