Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1947. Story by Eleazar Lipsky, Screenplay by Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer. Cinematography by Norbert Brodine. Produced by Fred Kohlmar. Music by David Buttolph. Production Design by Leland Fuller, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Charles Le Maire. Film Editing by J. Watson Webb Jr.. Academy Awards 1947. Golden Globe Awards 1947.
Victor Mature goes to the joint for robbery but needs to get out when he finds out that his wife has killed herself and orphaned their two little girls. He squeals on a psychotic mobster (Richard Widmark) and is released to the world and to a new wife (an excellent Coleen Gray), but when the feds fail to stick charges on Widmark based on his evidence, Mature needs to send his family out of town and wait for the bad guys to seek revenge. An exciting plot and strong performances, including one of Mature’s best, are great compensation for Henry Hathaway’s committed though not exceptional direction in this satisfying film noir. Widmark would later make a career as a haunted, stalwart type, so it’s fun to see him in full character mode as a goofy psychopath with a tick of a laugh.