the fourth fox film noir i’ve seen in the last two weeks. this one also stars richard widmark, but he plays a government health official here, instead of a two bit hustler. this one’s not as great as night and the city, but it is a fun film to watch. here we find widmark trying to find the killers of a recent immigrant, not because justice must be dispensed, but because the victim was carrying a strain of the plague which must be quarantined immediately. i’m a fan of pictures like this (dawn of the dead, outbreak, 28 days later…, etc.) because i like to think about what would happen if the shit really hit the fan. widmark is almost as good here as he is in night and the city. he hides his toothy grin and downplays his more desperate looking features which worked so well for him in night and the city. instead he plays it straight – an upright family man eager to stop an international epidemic. this is actually the first elia kazan feature that i’ve liked – on the waterfront and a streetcar named desire are both overrated in my opinion. the setting here is the same – much of the film takes place in the streets, and they appear to be actual locations. it takes place in new orleans and the waterfront figures prominently into the film. but this picture wasn’t bogged down with the melodramatics of waterfront and streetcar; plus, widmark is a better actor than brando. the villains, played by some guy i’ve never seen, zero mostel and jack palance, are pretty good as well. a solid picture. the last line is: “what a mushy dame.” ah, the 50s.