- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- Jay Nunnally Allen
Given all the examples of the de facto film noir genre, this may well be the best. And even among those with little interest in movies in general, the scene where the man pushes the woman down the steps is legendary. In fact there's a film from the nineties where a bunch of guys watch and laugh at the scene. I have to admit, in in otherwise grim film it is kind of funny! Great location shooting and Victor Mature's best film after after "The Egyptian " and "Violent Saturday" -- just my opinion though I'll admit!
"We said prayers for you, and God sent you back"
- Jeff Boston
Life is about choices; we all have free will; and Nick was reunited with his daughters (good job, Ben Hecht, a wonderful moralist who also contributed to big classics as well as little gems like "The Miracle of the Bells"). Even without the sensational stairs scene, "Kiss of Death" is fine film noir. Hathaway silencing a few scenes really add to their impact, and Mature is believable and effective in every scene, whether being tough, tender, or terrified. Widmark is one-thumbs up wicked, and Tommy Udo is a character for the ages. His scene where he looks at Nick from the curtain at Luigi's, with most appropriate lighting, is done very well by him and Hathaway. This movie even has Karl Malden and Millard Mitchell, both very good in Gregory Peck's "The Gunfighter" a few years later.
kiss of death
- kevin sellers
Widmark is wonderful and Hecht and Lederer's screenplay is a cut above, but otherwise this is a fairly standard crime drama. I must say, that for a film that is largely shot on location in NYC director Henry Hathaway and his cinematographer certainly do not have a strong visual feel for the city. Just contrast this film with the much better director Alexander McKendrick and cinematographer James Wong Howe's study in shadow and neon moodiness, "Sweet Smell Of Success," made ten years later. But then again I've never been a big Hathaway fan. "Competent" is the word that comes to mind when this ol curmudgeon's name comes up. As for the performances beyond Widmark, yeah Victor Mature is decent. Especially compared to his usual low standard. Same with Brian Donlevey. As for Coleen Gray, she's good in the prison visitation scene with Mature, but then lapses into terminal cuteness slash concern. Give it a generous B minus for Tommy Udo and his laugh. P.S. The reason the wheelchair scene works, in my opinion, is that Mildred Dunnock's morally AND physically crippled character (she's harboring a fugitive son who cuckolded Mature while the guy was in prison) is almost as despicable as her killer's. Dunnock was a highly skilled actress (she was the original Linda in "Death Of A Salesman") and in a few seconds managed to etch a highly sleazy individual.
Film & Stage Differences
- Don Riley
Film acting is based on creating an identity, creating interest so Widmark's performance is brilliant, which is much different than in stage acting. I'm wondering if it had any influence on Robert DeNiro's character in "Mean Streets", there are similarities. The similarities are in the creation of a signature character on a Grand Scale but one that is not a Parody.
Cozy Little World in Old New York
- el debbo
Kiss of Death, Pickup on South Street, The Dark Mirror the list goes on and on. All the players KNOW each other in 50's New York. Victor Mature merely says a first name of any crook and the cops know exactly who he's talking about, even though he's mostly ratting out small-time thugs. Anybody else notice this? Anyhoo, there's alot of noise about Widmark as Udo, and he was good, but reminded me so much of Frank Gorshen it seemed like he was not portraying a crook, but a caricature. My 4-star review goes to Mature, who is so great in this film. I've seen him in many, and to me this is his best. Coleen Gray is as wonderful as ever, a breathy bubbling girl with a crush, ready to do whatever it takes to be with Nick. I appreciated all the location work in New York, but they said "all locations authentic" and I don't believe Guido's and that street were anywhere but Backlot.
Kiss of Death
A taunt crime thriller. Mature is solid in a well-balanced performance, but this unquestionably Widmark's show all the way, in an Oscar-nominated debut as a psychotic gangster. The story is predictable at times and the characters are usual stereotypes, but this is thrilling for the most part; especially the scene where Widmark pushes wheel-chair-bound Dunnock down the stairs. A new appreciation for elderly women in wheelchairs is an inevitable side affect from watching this good film. I give it a 3.5/5.
V for Victor
everyone knows this film because of Richard Widmark's sociopathic character Tommy Udo,what everyone forgets is Victor Mature's sympathetic performance as Nick Bianco...it's one of his best...watch it for both
One of the Overlooked Film Noir Movie
This movie is so typical of Noir magic yet it is over looked by TCM. Victor Mature and Richard Widmark are just great. The last time this movie was aired on TCM was during the Blizzard of 2009 in the DC Metro area and I missed it after waiting years for it to be aired again. A must for film noir lovers everywhere and TCM should air it again.
- Jack Jacoby
Richard Widmark is wonderfully frightening and steals every scene in his notorious film debut. Mature, never better, ColleenGray, never more beautiful, and the story holds up even today.A must see.
Victor Mature Rediscovered
- Henry Hoffman
Years ago, lore has it that when a posh country club refused Mature admission into its ranks because he was an actor, it was reported that Mr. Mature said that he would show them one of his films & "prove" he was not an actor! This performance in KISS OF DEATH clearly refutes his wilful self-abnegation. Supported by a clear directorial plan by Henry Hathaway, Mature is subtle, instinctive, precise in his decision-making. He is also visually striking & has a real screen presence: a gift.
Widmark is Wacko!
- Steve S.
Colleen Gray is as cute as ever!Mature, Donlevy and Hathaway do a good job!