Sergio Leone Web Board

Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2012, 12:42:29 AM

Title: The Street With No Name (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2012, 12:42:29 AM

The Street With No Name (1948)

Plot synopsis and cast, courtesy of imdb

PLOT SYNOPSIS: A covert FBI agent infiltrates a ruthless gangster mob, but his life is is at risk from a mysterious informant that funnels inside information to the hoodlums.


Mark Stevens    ...   Gene Cordell / George Manly
    Richard Widmark    ...   Alec Stiles
    Lloyd Nolan    ...   Inspector George A. Briggs
    Barbara Lawrence    ...   Judy Stiles
    Ed Begley    ...   Chief Bernard Harmatz
    Donald Buka    ...   Shivvy
    Joseph Pevney    ...   Matty
    John McIntire    ...   Cy Gordon
    Walter Greaza    ...   Police Lt. Paul Staller
    Howard Smith    ...   Commissioner Ralph Demory

Here are the previous posts in the Film Noir Discussion Thread, which begin here


cigar joe:

The Street with No Name (1948) dir. William Keighley, Writer: Harry Kleiner (screenplay) starring: Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark, John McIntire, Ed Begley, and Lloyd Nolan, This is one of the police procedural Noirs with some great location work around LA. Widmark is a sneering hypochondriac villain who runs a  boxing gym, HQ for a gang the police are wanting to put out of business. They send undercover FBI agent Stevens into a dive neighborhood of arcade parlors and cheap flea bit hotels to infiltrate the gang and get the goods on Widmark, Nolan is the FBI agent in charge McIntire his undercover contact to Nolan. Barbara Lawrence is the very cute girlfriend of Widmark. 7/10.



Why should a gang need a front? And a boxing gym at that?  :o


cigar joe:

Maybe "front" is the wrong word, say it was their headquarters . Sort of like Max, Fat Moe's & Noodles Nightclub, or the "Bada Bing" in The Sopranos.

PS I edited it to make it clear.


dave jenkins: (dave jenkins quotes cigar joe's previous comment "Barbara Lawrence is very cute," and replies:

Now you're talking  O0

Title: Re: The Street With No Name (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2012, 01:13:11 AM
At first, this movie seems like one of your police procedural-- narrated-- movies, basically propaganda for the FBI. There's a title card that says the story was taken from the FBI files, that wherever possible they use the real names and FBI men involved in the case. And there is a note from J. Edgar Hoover about how the movie takes place on "the Street with No Name," ie. any street on which there is crime, and mentions the need to prevent crime, etc. And there are some noir-crime scenes, but they are intercut with the typically narrated police procedural, explaining how the FBI dealt with this or taht evidence, sent this bit of evidence to that lab, etc.

In other words, it wasn't very interesting, I figured it was just some typical propaganda about how awesome the FBI is and how great their crime-fighting is. But happily, after a short period of time (I'd guess maybe 15 minutes or so?) the movie pretty much ditches the whole narration of FBI shit, and basically becomes a regular noir: Richard Widmark is the leader of a violent gang; he is violent and tough and eccentric and somewhat reminiscent of his iconic character in Kiss of Death, although not quite as psychopathic.

Although the movie takes place in the fictional Center City, it was actually filmed in Los Angeles and San Pedro (according to dvd commentators James Ursini and Alain Silver). Much of the street scenes take place on this one seedy street in town, shot in downtown Los Angeles -- the street with the crappy hotels and pool halls etc., Sure, as the commentators point out, some of the film is shot on backlots intercut withn stock footage of locations, but there is definitely a real-location feel throughout the movie, and that of course adds so much to the noir, the seedy locations

This is not a great noir, but a decent enough one -- I agree with cj's rating of a 7/10 -- thanks mainly to Widmark's terrific job as the nutty gang leader (and thanks to the fact that they ditched the dumbass police procedural crap early on). It's pretty strange to me why they'd open seemingly like a police procedural and then ditch it rather quickly. I can only guess as to the reasons: did they just change their minds? Did they just wanna pretend that they were a police procedural maybe so they would have less censorship problems with the violence? maybe cuz pretending they were convinced the FBI to allow them to shoot in the FBI building? Who knows. Who cares.

So, if you are a serious noir fan, give this one a watch  ;)

RE: the dvd:

I borrowed the 20th Century Fox dvd (it's disc 05 of the Fox film Noir series) from my local library. The picture is decent, though it shows lots of damage marks and lines.

I only listened to a few minutes of the James Ursini/Alain Silver commentary but it sounds like it's very, very interesting, with lots of great information and insights
Title: Re: The Street With No Name (1948)
Post by: cigar joe on February 27, 2017, 04:06:37 AM
Road Apple
This is an exceptionally good noir once the story gets going. First, however, we have to endure the semidocumentary opening so popular at the time, where a stentorian narrator, accompanied by supposedly stirring, but actually irritating music, tells us what a fabulous job law enforcement does fighting crime and/or evil.

Mark Stevens (who played a gumshoe in THE DARK CORNER opposite Lucille Ball) portrays an FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a criminal gang headed by Richard Widmark who is electrifying from his first moment on screen. He may not be quite as psychotic here as he was as Tommy Udo in KISS OF DEATH, but he still displays a plethora of neurotic mannerisms. Lloyd Nolan plays the FBI agent in charge of the operation, and Barbara Lawrence appears briefly as Widmark's loudmouth wife, whom he treats as badly as he does the members of his gang.

The film looks great thanks to extensive nighttime location shooting. Most of the action takes place in a rundown section of "Center City" with its sleazy diners, bars and cheap hotels. Cinematographer Joseph MacDonald (THE DARK CORNER, PANIC IN THE STREETS, PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET) pulls out all the stops to deliver a wealth of shadowy atmosphere throughout. Director William Keighley was a veteran of 30s gangster films and puts that experience to good use here. Although Stevens gets stop billing, it's Widmark's film all the way.  Available on DVD.
Title: Re: The Street With No Name (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 14, 2017, 01:47:57 AM
I just saw the movie again, on TCM. I give it a 7.5/10. Agree with just about everything I wrote in the previous post. Once the movie ditches the police-procedural crap and gets moving, it's solid.  O0
Title: Re: The Street With No Name (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 06, 2017, 08:50:10 PM
If you're looking for gay subtexts, you can find one in this movie.

Widmark repeatedly refuses his girl's advances. Instead, he ducks into the bedroom with a guy who is trying to join the gang, to talk about the gang. Their criminal "courtship" is in the bedroom, as they are sitting on beds. Then, when Widmark agrees to bring the guy into the gang, he gives him cash and tells him to buy clothes because, "I like my boys to look sharp."  ;D