Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Richard Widmark R.I.P.

Not much time for posting tonight, but I couldn't let the death of Richard Widmark pass by without comment. Although he never seemed to reach the heights of a Robert Mitchum or a Burt Lancaster, there's no question that Widmark was an A-level movie star and a heckuvan actor. He died yesterday at his Connecticut home at the age of 93, having been off the big screen since 1991's TRUE COLORS (which I suppose I need to see).

Many film fans have suggested Widmark for an honorary Academy Award for several years now, but the Academy sadly dragged its feet too long. He was nominated for an Oscar for his screen debut, 1947's KISS OF DEATH, which remains one of his best known performances. Other terrific Widmark movies you should look for on Netflix are PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, which was directed by Sam Fuller (Criterion put out a wonderful disc of this), JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (one of my favorite films), TIME LIMIT (directed by Karl Malden, it's not on DVD, but turns up on TCM occasionally), MADIGAN (which was spun off into a TV series that also starred Widmark), CHEYENNE AUTUMN, THE LAW AND JAKE WADE, TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, NO WAY OUT with Sidney Poitier, and many others.

Like many older leading men, Widmark eventually found himself playing a steady stream of authority figures in Hollywood genre offerings that were generally beneath him, but to which he added necessary class, including ROLLERCOASTER (in Sensurround!), THE SWARM (in which he manages to imbue his idiotic dialogue with a measure of believability), COMA and THE DOMINO PRINCIPAL.

Please read Widmark's New York Times obituary, and you'll learn about an interesting man whom we lost too early, even if he was 93.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was gonna come out here and give you shit for not giving up the love for richard widmark, but I see you're all over it. Good man.