You know what I do to squealers
March 26, 2008 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Richard Widmark, who created a villain in his first movie role who was so repellent and frightening that the actor became a star overnight, died Monday at his home in Roxbury, Conn. He was 93. Rest in peace, Richard. Fans of his work, here is the entirety of one of the many terrific thrillers he starred in, Panic in the Streets.
posted by Astro Zombie (31 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Richard Widmark's charming performance on What's My Line.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:50 PM on March 26, 2008


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posted by WalterMitty at 6:54 PM on March 26, 2008


I remember watching Kiss of Death as a kid and being alternately repelled and fascinated by his character. They really don't make 'em like that anymore (as evidenced by the godawful remake with ***shudder*** David Caruso and Nicholas Cage.)
posted by Rangeboy at 6:56 PM on March 26, 2008


This is gonna sound morbid, but I was just telling my uncle that my dad would be totally stoked to know he died on the same day as Richard Widmark. He really loved how cool and creepy he could be.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:59 PM on March 26, 2008


He was absolutely amazing in Night and the City, one of my favorite films. Sadly (and embarrassingly), I don't think I've seen him in much else.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:59 PM on March 26, 2008


miss lynnster, I hate to do this to you, but, uh, double from the FPP.

Astro Zombie, thanks for this. Widmark was indeed charming in that game-show appearance!
posted by cgc373 at 7:01 PM on March 26, 2008


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posted by Smart Dalek at 7:09 PM on March 26, 2008


Aw.

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posted by tkchrist at 7:23 PM on March 26, 2008


Widmark was such an intelligent actor; his choices seemed, to steal a phrase from a contemporary composer, "So inevitable."
What he did I can't imagine being done in any other way, by anybody else. He made bold choices and played them fully. My highest praise.
posted by Dizzy at 7:34 PM on March 26, 2008


He was great as the small-time pickpocket, (Skip McCoy!), in Pickup on South Street "Are you waving the flag at me!?!"
posted by jettloe at 7:38 PM on March 26, 2008


My favorite Widmark: the hokier-than-thou B picture epic The Long Ships.

Richard Widmark v. Sidney Poitier and his Little Richard coiffure. . .and The Mare of Steel!
posted by rdone at 7:39 PM on March 26, 2008


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posted by brandz at 7:41 PM on March 26, 2008


Too damn bad. He was a great actor.

And second that motion on Pickup on South Street. Good flick.

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posted by John of Michigan at 7:43 PM on March 26, 2008


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posted by dobbs at 7:54 PM on March 26, 2008


First time I saw him was when he got his grumpy ass Murdered on the Orient Express. That was also the first time I knew how to properly pronounce Poirot's name. My dad loved him, and instilled that same love in me, and his movies were one of the things we bonded over. Him and Steve McQueen and the Duke, corny as that sounds. Bit of a soft spot for the old man.

RIP, Richard.

Jesus, I just checked the imdb page for MotOE. I had totally forgotten most of the cast. Lauren Bacall? How on earth could I have forgotten her, the one woman I would kill all of you for? Must netflix.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:55 PM on March 26, 2008


On behalf of those who (like myself) are only now discovering his work; thanks for this post, AZ.

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posted by churl at 8:08 PM on March 26, 2008


miss lynnster, I hate to do this to you, but, uh, double from the FPP.

I knew it was there. So I can't rehighlight it because my dad liked that scene in particular?
posted by miss lynnster at 8:29 PM on March 26, 2008


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posted by sonic meat machine at 8:36 PM on March 26, 2008


One of my very favorite actors. I was sad to hear the news, but 93 years old and a legacy like his - that's a life well-lived.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:38 PM on March 26, 2008


My favorite Widmark biographical note:
A passionate liberal Democrat, Widmark played a bigot who baits a black doctor in Joseph Mankiewicz's "No Way Out" (1950). He was so embarrassed by the character that after every scene he apologized to the young actor he was required to torment, Sidney Poitier.

In 1990, when Widmark was given the D.W. Griffith Career Achievement Award by the National Board of Review, it was Poitier who presented it to him.
From the outstanding IHT obituary.
posted by scrump at 8:40 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by Pope Guilty at 9:32 PM on March 26, 2008


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posted by mwhybark at 9:35 PM on March 26, 2008


RIP indeed, for this man who was a very good actor for a very long time. The wheelchair scene made an impression on one of my favorite writers as well, Donald E. Westlake.

”Parker, a cold-blooded, ruthless thief, one of the author’s most famous characters, was introduced in The Hunter (1962), written under the Richard Stark pseudonym. ‘Richard’ came from Richard Widmark, and ‘Stark’ excellently described his style.”
posted by LeLiLo at 9:56 PM on March 26, 2008


Oh, wow, I didn't know that he was in "Murder on the Orient Express". I just recently saw "Night and the City", which was amazing, and he was amazing in it. Definitely rent it.
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posted by 235w103 at 10:10 PM on March 26, 2008


. . . my dad liked that scene in particular?

You know what? I'm sorry, miss lynnster. There was no point in remarking on the doubling except a loose attempt at humor, and it wasn't funny, and you were doing no harm.
posted by cgc373 at 11:24 PM on March 26, 2008


I've just now written about Panic in the Streets. I've been meaning to do it for a while, and Widmark's death has prompted me to do it. I liked the man's work very much. Also, he was a fellow Minnesotan, and so he had that going for him.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 PM on March 26, 2008


Great actor, long life. I rejoice in his memory.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:22 AM on March 27, 2008


"My favorite Widmark: the hokier-than-thou B picture epic The Long Ships."

And a big ditto here. I was disappointed to see it didn't even make the roster in today's otherwise fine Globe and Mail obit. My favourite scene is when Poitier first eagerly enters the dome and gets a profoundly shocked glimpse of the golden bell they've come all that way to recover.

And then of course... but perhaps I've said too much.

2nd fave Widmark scene: his raging frustration in Cheyenne Autumn as he realizes he is unable to halt that ill-conceived cavalry charge.

RIP Mr W, and thanks for the many, many hours.
posted by Mike D at 5:00 AM on March 27, 2008


He was great as the small-time pickpocket, (Skip McCoy!), in Pickup on South Street "Are you waving the flag at me!?!"

I second and third all the praise for Pickup on South Street. Widmark was one of Moe's best "cannons." Great Thelma Ritter performance in that film, too.

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posted by jonp72 at 7:04 AM on March 27, 2008


Another legend gone -- alas. My favorite line about him (playing villains): “With his gangster’s slouch, his machine-gun diction and his stiletto grin, the only place he looks really at home is in an electric chair.”

Even a three-minute YouTube clip of Widmark in Kiss of Death (with poor sound quality) makes the blood run cold with fear.
posted by blucevalo at 9:27 AM on March 27, 2008


I first came across Widmark as an old man, a cool-assed old man. About 10 years ago I finally saw Kiss of Death on TV.

Holy. God. I mean, he's giggling as he dumps that old lady down the stairs!! Star-making turn indeed.

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posted by djrock3k at 7:35 AM on March 28, 2008


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