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It's 12:55am on a Saturday night. I'm tired and should probably go to sleep. I make the mistake of turning on TCM. I see that a movie I have been wanting to see is starting in five minutes. Should I stay up? The answer is no. Do I? Yes. This happens all the time. Damn you TCM!
This week it was No Way Out (1950) starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier.
Plot summary courtesy of IMDB...
"The Biddle brothers, shot while robbing a gas station, are taken to the prison ward of the County Hospital; Ray Biddle, a rabid racist, wants no treatment from black resident Dr. Luther Brooks. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain it's murder and becomes obsessed with vengeance. But there are black racists around too, and the situation slides rapidly toward violence." Written by Rod Crawford
First of all, I have to say that I was kind of shocked by the subject matter of this film given the year the film was produced. Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark deliver fine performances. As does Stephen McNally and Linda Darnell. In my opinion, Richard Widmark is a very underated actor. His portrayal of the racist Ray Biddle made me feel very uncomfortable. I was also taken back by the very strong language used in the movie. The racial slurs used by Ray Biddle are tough to listen to. I've seen Widmark play some horrible people in movies before, but this one was something else. He played a terrible person in The Street With No Name (1948) but I actually sided with him in that movie. Definitely not the case here. He has become one of my favourite actors.
I imagine this movie made quite an impact when it was released. If it didn't, it certainly should have. I strongly recommend this movie. It stands as a bold statement against racism. I'm glad I stayed up to watch it.