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VICTOR MATURE WITH RICHARD WIDMARK IN 'KISS OF DEATH'

Title: KISS OF DEATH Year: 1947 Rating: ****

The original KISS OF DEATH is several movies in one, beginning as a tension-filled heist flick that quickly leads to a prison melodrama involving the husband/father crook going to jail (refusing to rat on his criminal partners)... and then becomes a thriller about one thing and one thing only  — fear...

And it's no coincidence that this part sets up when central lead Victor Mature meets extremely talky and psychotic gangster Tommy Udo, played by cinema newcomer Richard Widmark... thus kicking into full fear gear during the second and third act, after Mature's failed attempt of turning Udo over to dogged moral conscience D.A. Brian Donlevy...

Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH

At which point, director Henry Hathaway's classic noir's overall mood and aura belongs entirely to Widmark, despite having surprisingly little screen-time, most famously when infamously pushing an old woman down a staircase (who also happens to be the complicit mother of another petty lowlife)... 

But it's an 11th hour scene when Widmark's approaching eyes enlarge as he appears from behind a restaurant's cracked backroom door, all while Mature looks on from a table — in equally locked anticipation as the audience, who, by this point, Mature... in another tensely subdued, underrated performance... has become the suspenseful barometer of...

Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH

Occurring well after having heard about his wife's suicide, and being newly-married to former babysitter Coleen Gray, who as usual looks utterly fantastic (without realizing) yet is a bit too clingy/sentimental for such an otherwise dark film, and, with the kids also back home, Mature's Nick Bianco has more than his own life to lose...

At which point Richard Widmark's an even scarier, more formidably uncompromising menace off-screen (particularly when Mature checks his dark house after hearing a late night noise): doubly proving Tommy Udo's legendary worth as one of the great noir heavies, who's always completely (and nightmarishly) right there — especially when he isn't.

Victor Mature and Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Coleen Gray and Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Richard Widmark and Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Richard Widmark and Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Mildred Dunnock in KISS OF DEATH
Mildred Dunnock and Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH
Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Brian Donlevy in KISS OF DEATH
Richard Widmark and Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature and cop Karl Malden in KISS OF DEATH
Credits for KISS OF DEATH
Credits for KISS OF DEATH
Credits for KISS OF DEATH

Victor Mature and Coleen Gray in KISS OF DEATH
Brian Donlevy in KISS OF DEATH
Coleen Gray in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature in KISS OF DEATH
Kiss of Death Fox Film Noir DVD
Brian Donlevy and Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature and Brian Donlevy in KISS OF DEATH
Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature and Richard Widmark and Temple Texas in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature and Richard Widmark and Temple Texas in KISS OF DEATH
Victor Mature and Richard Widmark and Temple Texas in KISS OF DEATH

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