Kiss of Death

Director: Henry Hathaway
Year Released: 1947
Rating: 3.0

A gangster (Victor Mature) gets busted after trying robbing a jeweler, goes to jail and refuses to rat on his accomplices, but as soon as he discovers his wife committed suicide (because, it's assumed, she wasn't provided for financially in the whole deal), he turns stoolie, going so far as to try to help the N.Y.P.D. bust a heartless cackling loon (Richard Widmark). It's a tense, ambiguous noir about a man trying to straighten out his life (although some B-movie trappings are certainly in place in the form of plot contrivances and a too-quick ending), with the twist being that Mature's character has to basically become a snitch - for which he voluntarily (and symbolically) is shot and wounded (but not killed) - in order to 'redeem' himself. Widmark's icky performance earned him accolades and helped kick start his career, although this is certainly not his best film by a long shot (Panic in the Streets and Pickup on South Street, to name but two, are exceptional).