Victor Mature is an ex-con driven by financial desperation to take part in a jewel heist. The job goes wrong, and he is nabbed. He’s sent to prison, and agonizes over his family. When he’s double-crossed by his lawyer, he agrees to DA Brian Donlevy’s deal and testifies against psychotic hoodlum Richard Widmark. He gets out, and starts his life over, but then Widmark beats the wrap, and is on the prowl for revenge.
Mature is the star, and Coleen Gray is the eternally patient love in…erest (who replaces the suicidal wife), but the movie belongs to Widmark. This was his screen debut, and what a first impression he makes. His giggle is one of the great chilling sounds in cinema, and thanks to his enormous menace, the climax is heart-stopping. This is also one of the seminal instances of the pseudo-documentary noir, proudly trumpeting its location shooting (including the prison).
The usual deal with this series (and with the Studio Classics). Both the original mono and 2.0 stereo mix are present. The remix is richer, but also has the unfortunate effect of surround dialogue. The latter isn’t too overbearing, however.
The print is in good, but not perfect shape. Damage is minimal, but grain is variable. It is never severe, but one wouldn’t go so far as to say that this looks like a restored print. The image is sharp, and the high-contrast black-and-white is excellent. There are no real edge enhancement problems.
Perennial Noir commentators James Ursini and Alain Silver are back again, and one couldn’t ask for a more capable pair of guides to the film. As ever, their discussion is lively and deeply informative. If only all commentary tracks were this good. The still gallery amounts to a few poster reproductions. There is also the theatrical trailer, plus those for five other films in the Noir series. The menu is basic.
An essential film. Anyone with even a passing interest in film noir must see this.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers