Kiss Of Death

Kiss Of Death


Kiss of Death is a semi-documentary thriller, one of a cycle of documentary-based noirs, which began life not as pulp fiction but as a version of the facts, derived from the case files of Eleazar Lipsky, an aspiring novelist and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney. Ben Hecht, screenwriter of The Front Page and Scarface, and Charles Lederer, a frequent collaborator, delivered the script.

Sharing with the later On the Waterfront (1954) the theme of heroic informing, the film was a huge hit for Fox. The giggling psycho killer, the old lady in the wheelchair pushed down the stairs – this is the film wherein Richard Widmark became a star, Victor Mature became an actor, sadism came to the big screen and Hollywood neorealism got tangled in the dreamscape of noir.

Richard Widmark, then a radio actor, made his film debut, stealing every frame as the terrifying, grinning, snickering killer Tommy Udo. Udo, with his animal ferocity and vicious joie de vivre, is clearly a spiritual nephew of Scarface's Tony Camonte, but Widmark himself is to be credited with many of the inspired details of his performance.

Special Features

- Interview with Richard Widmark
- Original theatrical trailer, presented by famed commentator Walter Winchell
- Booklet
- Essay by author Lee Server
- Interview with director Henry Hathaway