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The Street with No Name

48 customer reviews

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(Jun 07, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In one of his most chilling performances, Richard Widmark stars as Stiles, an up and coming crime boss trying to stake his claim in the criminal underworld. The FBI files are filled with many lurid crime stories. One case in particular baffles FBI Inspector Briggs (Loyed Nolan). In involves the murders of a house wife and a bank guard. Both were killed by the same gun, yet there isn't any connection between the victims. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime, Briggs sends his best agent undercover to penetrate the inner circle of the notorious Stiles gang. Everything goes according to plan, until an informant inside the police department tips off Stiles. Now the enraged crime boss targets the agent for murder.

"What's the use of having a war if you don't learn from it?" The speaker is Alec Stiles (Richard Widmark), a menthol-sniffing asthmatic in a snap-brim hat who's nailed down the organized-crime franchise for a burg named Center City, and who runs it "scientifically," using methods he picked up in uniform during WWII. He can even tap into the databanks of the FBI. Which, by coincidence, is gearing up to bring his mini-crime wave to an end. Street with No Name invites us to sit back and watch both sides deploy their methodologies at each other.

The semidocumentary crimefighting/spybusting thrillers of the late '40s are fascinating for their blend of institutionalized rectitude (the FBI is totally trustworthy and awesomely competent), authentic locations ("filmed where it happened"), and noir poetics. Once Inspector George Briggs (Lloyd Nolan repeating his House on 92nd Street role) sends agent Gene Cordell (Mark Stevens) to work undercover on Center City's skid row, the movie has settled into an evocative meditation on the underside of Middle American town life c. 1948: the never-empty arcades and diners; a seedy drifters' hotel you can almost smell; cars parked slantwise along a commercial street that retains a memory of countryside; and an upstairs gym--Stiles's place--where even in daytime a surprising number of men congregate in hopes of seeing someone take a beating. And there's one sequence of skulking in a ferry terminal, so beautifully observed by director William Keighley and ace cinematographer Joe MacDonald, you'll wish you could shake their hands. Harry Kleiner's screenplay was reworked seven years later for Samuel Fuller's House of Bamboo. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark, Lloyd Nolan, Barbara Lawrence, Ed Begley
  • Directors: William Keighley
  • Writers: Samuel G. Engel, Harry Kleiner
  • Producers: Samuel G. Engel
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2005
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007ZEO7S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,274 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Street with No Name" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Tesi on May 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
There have been many films that have attempted to dramatize gangsterism and its existence within urban America. Works such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, Once Upon A Time In America, and Angels With Dirty Faces have been critically acclaimed for achieving realistic glimpses inside the realm of crime. The Street With No Name should rightfully take its place alongside the aforementioned masterpieces as a pivotal film that absorbs the viewer into a criminal landscape etched with- corruption, unconscious alienation, and violent power. Aptly titled, no actual street or city is identified by name, since the gritty texture of this film implies that any of the growing metropolises that dot America can claim "Center City" as its home. Pool halls, seedy motels, late night arcades, and dank diners blend into an atmospheric montage of criminal haze. Interior shots are brilliantly framed in noir style lighting. Rooms themselves seem sinister as tables, chairs, windows, and walls, become parts to an ignominious whole. Director William Keighley taking a cue from the documentary style success of House on 92nd Street (best screenplay 1945) incorporates a similar narrative touch. As in House on 92nd Street, J Edgar Hoover allows Keighley full access to film scenes at FBI headquarters and at the Bureau's training center. The scenes are authenticated by actual FBI personnel operating the latest equipment used in criminal investigations. The dialogue and acting is sharp. Martin Scorcese would be impressed with the seemingly off the cuff lines and mannerisms that the racketeering characters demonstrate. Mark Stevens is believable as the undercover FBI agent who penetrates the inner circle of an organized street gang.Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David E.Baldwin on September 4, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This flick clicks on all cylinders. This is quintessential film noir. Director William Keighley employs two styles here. For the FBI procedural aspects of the film he employs a "Dragnet" style narrative. When dealing with the underworld element the ominous light and shadow noir approach is used. The marriage of these styles is utilized perfectly here. Richard Widmark adds another memorable character to his rogues gallery as crime boss Alex Stiles. Veterans Lloyd Nolan and John McIntire give good performances as an FBI field director and FBI undercover operative, respectively. Film was remade later as "House of Bamboo". The interesting thing about that film is all the basic elements from this film are present yet it pales in virtually every aspect to the original. "House of Bamboo" fails because it is a film almost bereft of style but see it if you must for comparison purposes.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on May 4, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Apparently after WWII, there was an alarming increase in `gangsterism', a term which I wasn't familiar with until I watched the film The Street with No Name (1948). Surprisingly (to me, at least) it is an actual word (according to my online dictionary), so if you're playing Scrabble and you have the right combination of letters, throw it down and earn yourself some beaucoup points...written by Harry Kleiner (Fallen Angel, The Violent Men, House of Bamboo) and directed by William Keighley ('G' Men, Bullets or Ballots, The Adventures of Robin Hood), the film stars Mark Stevens (Objective, Burma!, The Dark Corner) and Richard Widmark (Panic in the Streets, Pickup on South Street) in his second feature, following his memorable performance as the tough mug Tommy Udo in the Victor Mature vehicle Kiss of Death (1947). Also appearing is Lloyd Nolan (The House on 92nd Street), Barbara Lawrence (Oklahoma!), Ed Begley (12 Angry Men), John McIntire (Call Northside 777, Turner & Hooch), and Donald Buka (Stolen Identity), as the tough guy character Shivvy (in case it wasn't apparent by his name, he's handy with a blade, or `shiv' in gangsterism lingo). An interesting fact, `Shivvy' was also an original name for one of the original seven dwarfs, but was changed as test audiences didn't respond well to a knife wielding dwarf...go figure.

As the film begins we learn through a message hot off the wire from J. Edgar Hoover himself that gangsterism is running rampant, and if things stay the course, three out of every four Americans will, at some point, become victims of organized criminal activity. That's hardly news to the residents of Center City, as gangs have been pulling of some bold capers, resulting in a few deaths.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela HALL OF FAME on July 3, 2006
Format: DVD
When an innocent man is killed in a nightclub holdup in Center City suburbs, the Inspector Briggs firmly suspects about the existence of a gang zealously prepared and even disposed to take possession of the city. An undercover agent will penetrate the web thanks to his boxing abilities. Soon he will make the first contact with Alec Stiles (Richard Widmark) and so he gets to infiltrate himself in this underworld organization.

This is one of the most grimly and realistic Noir films of the late forties, zealously detailed in which semi documentary style concerns.

Widmark is simply superb. He develops a fascinating characterization as a neurotic gangster with suggested homosexual tendencies, phobia against the germs, and the remarkable inclination toward the military discipline; you may realize how he plans his villainies with astringent precision and displays the best of his skills to make of this outstanding movie at least the half of its virtues.

All of us who are beware about the trajectory of William Keighley (The G men), know about his special predilection for this genre. He was an expert around these themes and we must acknowledge him for this unusual and outstanding film.
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