Kiss of Death | Chicago Reader

Kiss of Death

Richard Widmark's film debut as a giggling psycho killer (assigned to eliminate an old lady, he chuckles as he launches her wheelchair down a staircase) is the chief point of interest in this 1947 film noir, directed in a pseudodocumentary style by Henry Hathaway. Victor Mature, the nominal star, is a petty crook who informs on his colleagues and becomes the target of an underworld manhunt. The film is efficient enough, but it's a measure of Hathaway's limitations that it never once fulfills the paranoid delirium built into its subject. With Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, and Karl Malden: the screenplay is the work of Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer. 98 min.

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