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Author Topic: No Way Out (1950)  (Read 1308 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: January 22, 2013, 01:24:23 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042792/


No Way Out (1950) 7/10


Plot synopsis: A young black doctor (Sidney Poitier) is called to treat two white brothers in jail, robbery suspects shot by police. When one brother dies, the other (Richard Widmark) accuses the doctor of murder, inflaming racial tensions.


Cast, courtesy of imdb

Richard Widmark    ...   Ray Biddle
    Linda Darnell    ...   Edie Johnson - Mrs. John Biddle
    Stephen McNally    ...   Dr. Dan Wharton
    Sidney Poitier    ...   Dr. Luther Brooks
    Mildred Joanne Smith    ...   Cora Brooks
    Harry Bellaver    ...   George Biddle
    Stanley Ridges    ...   Dr. Sam Moreland
    Dots Johnson    ...   Lefty Jones - Orderly


There is a scene where a major race riot occurs: the blacks find out that the whites are planning to attack, so the blacks head to the white-trash area of town, called "Beaver Canal," for a preliminary strike. (As one police officer later says, "The boogies lowered the boom on Beaver Canal."  Grin)

But the scene is set: the whites are preparing to riot, and practicing in an old garage, with chains and broken bottles; the blacks are nearby, hiding with clubs. The tension is built, you're waiting for something big to happen. Then the signal is given, the blacks all rush in and surprise the whites, and then......... the scene fades out. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???!!!!!!!! This was the big scene. It was set up, could have been a major fight scene. And instead, you just show the boys running in and fade out 5 seconds later??? I don't wanna hear any nonsense about "off-screen violence is more effective." This is bullshit.

Maybe they didn't have enough money to film a major fight scene. Maybe they didn't have enough stunt men. Maybe they didn't have enough time. But whatever the reason is, they should not have built it up this way and then faded out. If, for whatever reason, they knew they couldn't film a fight scene, then they should have kept everything off-screen (eg. just show one brief discussion between some of the black guys planning the raid, and then fade away), and cut to the scene of the whites being brought into the hospital. But once you show the whole buildup, it's simply ridiculous not to have shown that fight.

According to Wikipedia, Linda Darnell  later said that No Way Out was the only good picture she ever made; however, no source is given for this quote http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Darnell#Later_career

I'd remind Ms. Darnell about a little movie she was in called My Darling Clementine

« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 01:29:19 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 04:35:10 AM »

I watched most of it also (I had to go to work), I think, I'm guessing though, that they probably didn't want to show blacks beating on whites, in 1950 it would not have been popular for two reasons, the race relations message that the film was going for, and theater chains wouldn't probably show it anyway (especially down South).

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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 05:51:40 AM »

I watched most of it also (I had to go to work), I think, I'm guessing though, that they probably didn't want to show blacks beating on whites, in 1950 it would not have been popular for two reasons, the race relations message that the film was going for, and theater chains wouldn't probably show it anyway (especially down South).

maybe. But then they should have kept the entire incident off-screen. All you need is to show eg. one black guy telling another, "I hear the crackers are waiting for us; well, let's be waiting for them instead." Then, fade to the hospital where all the white guys are being wheeled in. That's fine, to keep everything off camera. But you can't this whole extensive build-up to the battle, then fade out as soon as the battle starts.

It would be interesting to know what went on during filming. Did they film the battle but decided not to show it (for reasons like those you suggested?) Did they plan on filming it, but then lose their financial backing and decided they had to cut costs? It seems to me like there is a story behind it. This is not some B-movie with a bunch of hacks. It's from a major studio, with major stars, and directed and co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

I saw this on TCM (as you did, I presume). But looking on Amazon, it says that the dvd has a commentary by Eddie Muller http://www.amazon.com/Way-Out-Fox-Film-Noir/dp/B000CNE08S/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1358858933&sr=1-1&keywords=no+way+out+1950

I guess I can theoretically rent the dvd from Netflix and see if Muller talks about this. I'm just not all that gung-ho about the movie anyway, so I don't know if I should even bother....



---------

p.s. it is so much fun to watch Widmark perform in a movie, any movie. one of my 25 favorite actors of all-time. I didn't know till just now that he was Sandy Koufax's father-in-law  Wink http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Widmark#Personal_life

« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 06:37:49 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 06:25:03 AM »

 I'll do some Googling to see if anyone talks about this.

First up, DVD Savant (who, btw, i can't stand and never read, but which came up at the top of my Google search, so decided to see just if he says anything about this issue):


http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s1919way.html


The pertinent lines:

"There are similiarites here with West Side Story, but Mankiewicz and Zanuck stop short of portraying the actual riot combat. Unlike the Jets-vs-Sharks musical, No Way Out doesn't lament gang fighting and then devote a reel to glamorizing it."

No, I don't think that was the reason. If the reason the fight scene was not included is really cuz the movie didn't wanna glamorize violence, the why would extensively show both gangs preparing for the fight, the black guys with their clubs, and especially the white guys, like the main guy who stands there with a chain, practicing his whipping on what looks like a file cabinet, and screaming to Linda Darnell, "You wanna hit a nigger too?" Seriously. For a movie that extensively, graphically shows racial hatred, racist language, crowds being whipped into a frenzy for race riots; I don't think the reason the riot itself wasn't shown has anything to do with not wanting to glamorize the violence.



Anyway, on an unrealted note, I just saw this line of bullshit  from Savant: "Although he gets top billing Richard Widmark's has the thankless role of all time. He's hissably rotten to the point where we can imagine a tough delinquent audience cheering him..." Is Savant saying that a role is thankless because you play a "hissably rotten" character? Really? Are you fucking kidding me? This is a such a great role for an actor! A role is "thankless" if eg. a character spends the whole film wearing a ski mask and you never see his face. Or as a mute and you can never hear him speak. That's what I call a thankless role: where the role severely restricts the actor from displaying his abilities; so the actor is not given full opportunity to spread his wings, so to speak. This is a great role for any actor who is confident in his ability to play a psychopathic murderous racist.
Not to mention that Widmark was famous for his role as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death (1947) (his first movie ever, btw) in which his character is at least as "hissably rotten" as the one in No Way Out. Does throwing an old woman in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs qualify one as "hissably rotten"? But thankless it ain't.

People can have differences of opinion, but Savant is just a dumbass. In the future, I won't even click on his page when it's a situation like this one where his page comes up in a search for a specific discussion. That'll save me from reading his inevitable bullshit review, and it'll save y'all from reading my subsequent bullshit rant.


ANYWAY, as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, I'll do some more Googling and see if anyone addresses the issue of why the movie did not show the fight.........

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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2013, 07:02:19 AM »

Full movie on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ItsP_QWbdM

(The aspect ratio on the youtube vid is much wider than this movie's actual 4:3 aspect ratio; so either the image is horizontally stretched, or the top and bottom are cut off).

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