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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: titoli on March 10, 2015, 03:37:08 PM

Title: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: titoli on March 10, 2015, 03:37:08 PM
I saw again this courtesy of CJ who, apparently, didn't review the movie (but it could be the search engine's fault). Anyway I'm uncertain about an evaluation, though I saw I included it almost a decade ago in my list of favourite noirs (but maybe I I mistook it for  Pickup on South Street). Anyway the movie has a very good pace, keeps you interested till the end about turn of things. Still got the creeps watching Widmark pushing the wheelchair down the stairs. What I don't like is Udo's grin and chuckle, Donleavy's  awkward pose (he doesn't know what to do with those arms on his desk), Mature's scenes with the daughters (which though are well made, admittedly). Then, the finale is moronic: why Mature lets himself be killed (though the finale's voiceover let us think otherwise) instead of shooting it out with Widmark?  7\10
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 10, 2015, 04:42:14 PM
Then, the finale is moronic: why Mature lets himself be killed (though the finale's voiceover let us think otherwise) instead of shooting it out with Widmark?  7\10

It is indeed stupid. But Mature (amazingly) does survive. As I wrote in the RTLMYS thread:


The ending was ridiculous. Would Mature really walk out there and be a sitting duck for Widmark, in the hope that somehow he would survive the shots from point blank range? They'd just said that Widmark would get life just for having a gun; shouldn't the cops have picked him up in the car just for that? Mature was pretty much committing suicide by doing that. And after all that, he actually survives 3 shots in the gut?? Really? That was bullshit, done for the sake of a happy ending.

Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: cigar joe on March 10, 2015, 08:10:54 PM
... the finale is moronic: why Mature lets himself be killed (though the finale's voiceover let us think otherwise) instead of shooting it out with Widmark?  7\10

Yea, it was a bit of a stretch. I have a personal connection to the this film. The sequence when Nick gets out of prison & goes straight the little neighborhood where he lives is along side Astoria Park (the Two Bridges in the bg.) As a kid in the late 50s I used to go there with the folks sit on the hill on a blanket and watch the ships and the various tugs struggle with rail car floats, garbage scows, and gas & oil barges as they fought the treacherous current at Hell Gate in the East River.  O0 O0 O0

Check out what it was like from this more recent clip & check the end where the action is sped up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0PC8BRMD0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0PC8BRMD0)
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 10, 2015, 08:35:07 PM
Yea, it was a bit of a stretch. I have a personal connection to the this film. The sequence when Nick gets out of prison & goes straight the little neighborhood where he lives is along side Astoria Park (the Two Bridges in the bg.) As a kid in the late 50s I used to go there with the folks sit on the hill on a blanket and watch the ships and the various tugs struggle with rail car floats, garbage scows, and gas & oil barges as they fought the treacherous current at Hell Gate in the East River.  O0 O0 O0

Check out what it was like from this more recent clip & check the end where the action is sped up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0PC8BRMD0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0PC8BRMD0)

did you watch the remake? Looks to me like the house of the main character is on a very similar block as Mature's house in the original.
David Caruso is no better than average (first time I'd ever seen him; I've never watched CSI or NYPD Blue); Nicolas Cage certainly can't compete with Richard Widmark. Overall it's not bad, though.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: cigar joe on March 11, 2015, 02:22:31 AM
did you watch the remake? Looks to me like the house of the main character is on a very similar block as Mature's house in the original.
David Caruso is no better than average (first time I'd ever seen him; I've never watched CSI or NYPD Blue); Nicolas Cage certainly can't compete with Richard Widmark. Overall it's not bad, though.


yea the remake is about a 6/10.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: titoli on March 11, 2015, 04:50:20 PM
hey'd just said that Widmark would get life just for having a gun; shouldn't the cops have picked him up in the car just for that? Mature was pretty much committing suicide by doing that. And after all that, he actually survives 3 shots in the gut?? Really? That was bullshit, done for the sake of a happy ending.

As I wrote, Mature wasn't probably meant to survive: it is evident that the voiceover explaining he survived was probably glued after production.

But the scene with Widmark would imply that isn't enough to find yourself in a car where a gun is to be incriminated. In fact Widmark lets his henchman taking care of Mature. Only after Mature taunts him he decides to take the gun from his sidekick. 
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: titoli on March 28, 2015, 05:18:02 PM
It seems though that Widmark's "characteristics" in this movie were successful among juveniles. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lra-crkCg88

And that the wheelchair scene made him famous.

(BTW, WML's Mystery Guest was a gas)
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: moorman on April 29, 2018, 06:47:22 PM
This was a pretty good noir.  It was recommended to me by a member of the TCM forum because of my interest in Richard Widmark.  Widmark didn't let me down. He was pretty good in this one, albeit his first role.  The movie itself was pretty good.  I agree with everybody about the ending.  I half expected Mature's character to pull a steel plate out of his suit ala Eastwood in A Fist Full of Dollars, lol.  Very unbelievable ending.  Other than that, i rate this a pretty solid 7 out of 10. I saw a bad copy on Youtube.  It looks to be a pretty good film cinematography wise if i can find a better copy.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: greenbudgie on January 26, 2019, 01:55:03 AM
I've just seen this. I would imagine that the wheelchair scene still shocks fresh viewers of the movie. It did me. Widmark reminds me of the Frank Gorshin's Riddler character out of the old TV batman series. But Widmark's giggle is more evil of course.

I have read that Mature was originally meant to die in the film. But there was a change of plan. So I don't think that they should have made the shooting scene look so lethal after that decision was taken. Very good crime/noir which I've rated 8/10.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 26, 2019, 02:17:29 PM
I've just seen this. I would imagine that the wheelchair scene still shocks fresh viewers of the movie. It did me. Widmark reminds me of the Frank Gorshin's Riddler character out of the old TV batman series. But Widmark's giggle is more evil of course.
An interesting observation. The two actors in fact played brothers in "Warlock" and were credible as such.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: greenbudgie on January 28, 2019, 06:06:08 AM
An interesting observation. The two actors in fact played brothers in "Warlock" and were credible as such.

Good casting. They looked alike enough to pass for brothers.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2019, 10:05:45 AM
As I wrote, Mature wasn't probably meant to survive: it is evident that the voiceover explaining he survived was probably glued after production.

But the scene with Widmark would imply that isn't enough to find yourself in a car where a gun is to be incriminated. In fact Widmark lets his henchman taking care of Mature. Only after Mature taunts him he decides to take the gun from his sidekick.

I just saw the movie again. I agree with both your points.


Do you think that only the voiceover explaining that he died was glued on afterward? Or was the entire narration glued on afterward?

I don't recall the narration filling in any plot gaps ? in other words, the movie could work totally fine without any narration. What the narration accomplishes is making Nick sympathetic/likeable, like explaining that he was doing the holdup because he had two young kids and was broke, etc.

It would be interesting to find out at what point in the movie the narration was tacked on. Maybe I'll tweet Eddie Muller and hope he responds.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2019, 10:07:41 AM
interesting note on wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_of_Death_(1947_film)#Filming

"A deleted scene involving Nick's wife Maria (who was played by Patricia Morison) was cut from the film. In this scene, a gangster (played by Henry Brandon) who is supposed to look out for her while Nick is in prison rapes her. Afterwards, Maria commits suicide by sticking her head in the kitchen oven and turning on the gas. Both scenes were cut from the original print at the insistence of the censors, who wanted no depiction of either a rape or a suicide, so although Morison's name appears in the credits, she does not appear in the film at all. Mention is made later in the film about Mature's wife's suicide and a now obscure reference is made by Nettie that the unseen gangster Rizzo contributed to the wife's downfall."
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: cigar joe on February 07, 2019, 01:43:35 PM
interesting note on wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_of_Death_(1947_film)#Filming

"A deleted scene involving Nick's wife Maria (who was played by Patricia Morison) was cut from the film. In this scene, a gangster (played by Henry Brandon) who is supposed to look out for her while Nick is in prison rapes her. Afterwards, Maria commits suicide by sticking her head in the kitchen oven and turning on the gas. Both scenes were cut from the original print at the insistence of the censors, who wanted no depiction of either a rape or a suicide, so although Morison's name appears in the credits, she does not appear in the film at all. Mention is made later in the film about Mature's wife's suicide and a now obscure reference is made by Nettie that the unseen gangster Rizzo contributed to the wife's downfall."

Thanks
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 21, 2020, 12:20:24 AM
Eddie Muller's intro https://youtu.be/Hrv3E_lPPGg

Eddie Muller's outro https://youtu.be/GSOACt38kpE
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 22, 2020, 12:00:40 AM
Muller's outro mentions the item I cited from wikipedia above, about the deleted scene. (The wikipedia entry cites to the book Women In Horror Films, 1940s," by Gregory William Mank https://www.amazon.com/Women-Horror-Films-Gregory-William/dp/0786423358) Only difference is that Muller says he is unsure if the scene was deleted because Zanuck wanted it out or because of the censors. The wikipedia entry says it was the censors.
Title: Re: Kiss of Death (1947)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 22, 2020, 12:25:25 AM



Do you think that only the voiceover explaining that he died was glued on afterward? Or was the entire narration glued on afterward?

I don't recall the narration filling in any plot gaps ? in other words, the movie could work totally fine without any narration. What the narration accomplishes is making Nick sympathetic/likeable, like explaining that he was doing the holdup because he had two young kids and was broke, etc.

It would be interesting to find out at what point in the movie the narration was tacked on.

Interestingly, the narration mentions that Nick's father was killed by a cop ? but I don't believe it is mentioned again anywhere else in the movie. You'd think that point about his father would have been mentioned again somewhere in the movie besides just once in the narration. For example, in the first scene where Nick is on the DA's office, and the DA is trying to get him to squeal, and the DA is bashing Nick for not squealing because he has the hoodlum blood in him or whatever, and they are talking about Nick's rap sheet at a career criminal, etc. At some point it would have been mentioned about Nick's childhood, how his dad was a crook killed by a cop. But I don't believe a word is ever mentioned about his father in the movie, aside from the narration.

So this does lead me to believe that the narration may well have all been tacked on afterward. Because it doesn't fill any narrative gaps, and just serves to make Nick more sympathetic. Once we're trying to make him sympathetic, what can do that better than saying his father was killed by a cop, implying that he had no choice but to lead a life of crime,

With that being said, I don't think the narration hurts the movie. I think it perhaps even helps (with the exception, of course, of the phony happy ending that was obviously tacked on afterward, as we discussed). Colleen Gray does a good job with it; of all noir narration, off the top of my head this is the only one that I can recall being done by a woman; also, she is neither omniscient nor the main character, but a supporting player. Any other noir narration like that?

And yes, the more sympathetic, Nick is a piece of shit hoodlum whom I'd ordinarily feel no sympathy for, and the more sympathetic and likeable he is, the better the movie is, you can root for him against not only the bad guy Tommy Udo but also against the dirty tricks of the DA.

Bottom line: While I believe the narration may all have been tacked on afterward, with the exception of the final scene, I don't think it hurts the movie at all, and perhaps helps.

Here's an interesting thought: Perhaps once they had to make Nick survive, that's why they had to add the closing narration (or re-shoot the last scene) and only then decided to put in the entire narration throughout.

It would be interesting to have a fan edit of this movie, deleting all the narration, and (aside from the ending being better), seeing how differently then movie plays. Nick will obviously be less likeable.

Anyway, upping my rating of this movie to an 8/10  :)