Starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Richard Kiley, Murvyn Vye, Willis Bouchey, Milburn Stone
Directed by Samuel Fuller
Expectations: High. Sam Fuller. He’s good.
Sam Fuller knew how to shoot a movie. He’s under the radar for a lot of people, which is a shame because his camerawork is undeniably fantastic. In one of the DVD extras Fuller states, “The power of the camera…is exactly like bold-face type. You cannot compete with it.” Sam Fuller is the perfect example of a director that focuses on showing and not telling.
The film opens with Jean Peters on a subway. Quick cuts establish that she is being watched by two men. There is no dialogue. A third man enters the scenario. He is a pickpocket (Richard Widmark). He lifts the wallet from Jean Peters’ purse and exits the subway car. The two men push their way to the door, only to have it close in their faces.
One of the men says, “What happened?”
“I’m not sure yet,” his partner replies.
The viewer isn’t quite sure either. A fantastic opening with very quick editing (to good effect) for the early 1950s. You can watch it on YouTube if you want to get a sense of it for yourself by clicking here.