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The Street with No Name

4.3 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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(Jun 07, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An FBI agent infiltrates a holdup gang led by a killer who sees crime as a science.


"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 (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007ZEO7S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,875 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Street with No Name" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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.
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Format: DVD
Post-war gangsterism provides a much better storyline than WWII spies in Fox's follow-up to "The House on 92nd Street." Thankfully, the reverential documentary-style sections on FBI proceedings were minimized in this movie in favor of the story concerning an FBI agent (Mark Stevens) who infiltrates a criminal gang in "Central City." Therefore, in this film you get more of the great black and white cinematography that visually characterizes the film noir genre.

Also, the cast is much better. Best of all is Richard Widmark. He provides another great portrayal of a villain right after becoming known in "Kiss of Death." Mark Stevens looks more convincing as a criminal than an agent, but he's much better here than in "The Dark Corner." (Like "Kiss of Death," the film is also on the Fox film noir DVD collection, and both are much better films than "The Street With No Name"). And, although she's only on screen for a handful of minutes, Barbara Lawrence (the only woman in the cast) makes quite an impression as Widmark's wife. She's quite a dame.

In sum, "The Street With No Name" is not the best of noirs, but the semi-documentary film is still fascinating to watch, and a significant improvement over Fox's first F.B.I. pic, "The House on 92nd Street," also available on DVD.
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