Goodbye Tommy Udo! Heh Heh Heh ! Richard Widmark Exits at 93

Written by Joe D on March 26th, 2008


Richard Widmark, the blonde, cool killer has died. He was the quintessential film noir protagonist, running down a dark street at night, chasing or being chased. His career really blasted into orbit with Kiss Of Death, a 1947 (that magical year!) noir directed by that talented curmudgeon Henry Hathaway. The story goes that Hathaway didn’t want Widmark for the role of Tommy Udo, sociopath killer with a snickering laugh, but Big Boss Darryl Zanuck overrode Hathaway’s objections and Widmark got the part. A pissed off Hathaway made it tough on Widmark and messed with him every chance he got. But so what, once Tommy Udo pushed a crippled old lady down a flight of apartment house stairs in her wheelchair, Widmark ascended to the stellar firmament atop a hugh geyser of pop culture appeal! Instant Stardom!

Tommy Udo’s Push To Stardom

He later appeared in some more classic Noir’s like Sam Fuller’s Pickup On South Street, a no holds barred tale of a sleazy pickpocket, Commies after Atomic secrets, floozies, patriotism, Thelma Ritter, murder, and an apartment on a barge in the East River! Check this one out for yourself!

Also one of my favorite’s Jules Dassin’s Night And The City, a down and dirty tale of a two-bit hustler turned wrestling promoter in London. (Dassin was fleeing the Commie Witch Hunt Trials and had to make films in Europe) This film features some of the best B+W noir Cinematography of all time! It is a pleasure to look at, you can get drunk, revelling in all that silver nitrate!
They are showing this masterpiece at the American Cinematheque as part of their upcoming Noir City film festival. Be sure to make it if you can! This is an incredible film, it unspools April 24th at 7:30 pm. I will be there, drinking a glass of Nebbiolo, toasting that gone blonde genius of darkness, Richard Widmark. May you never be chased down a dark alley in Film Heaven.

Night And The City trailer