Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Richard Widmark 1914-2008

The other day while watching "The Night of the Hunter" I couldn't help but be reminded of Richard Widmark.
In "Hunter" Robert Mitchum gives one of the most terrifying performances ever put on film and with the film's Expressionist visuals and very dark mood, it's impossible not to think how would Widmark have fit in it.
His performance in 1947's "Kiss of Death", as murderous sociopath Tommy Udo is also one of those instantly iconic roles that leave a mark on you. He practically created what we know as the film noir villain.
While Mitchum was all about the mood and suspense, in Widmark's case it was the disturbing combination of that boyishly handsome face with an infamously wicked giggle that made his deeds look like child's play.
That you don't remember who else was in the movie, or even what it was about makes no difference, it's perhaps the best way to summarize the legacy of an actor who may have been cast in supporting roles, but never ever played a small part.

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