Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.
The Biddle brothers, shot while robbing a gas station, are taken to the prison ward of the County Hospital; Ray Biddle, a rabid racist, wants no treatment from black resident Dr. Luther Brooks. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain it's murder and becomes obsessed with vengeance. But there are black racists around too, and the situation slides rapidly toward violence.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Lesser Samuels' original story was bid on by Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Universal-International, in addition to Twentieth Century Fox, which signed him in January 1949 to a ten-week contract to write the screenplay. See more »
After Dr. Brooks retrieves the spinal tap tray from the cabinet and heads back to the ward where Ray and John Biddle are being treated, the shadow of the boom microphone can be briefly seen on the wall upper left on the screen. See more »
As in other 1950s films, Richard Widmark is very scary and Sidney Poitier very noble herein. There is little preaching in Mankiewicz's screenplay and it has splendidly filmed action sequences. The rap that Mankiewicz's films are "all talk and no action" is untenable (see, especially, "The Quiet Man" and "Five Fingers"), though the talk he wrote was often very incisive and very witty.
Notable for the debuts of Poitier, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee, this melodrama is of more than historical interest. It is a gripping, noirish tale of a nightmare experienced by a young black doctor. Although the ending is predictable, and Linda Darnell's character chances unconvincingly often and unconvincingly far (and her clothes are inconceivable for a drive-in car hop!), "No Way Out" is more than a historical curiosity. (And Mankiewicz deserves reconsideration as one of the directors who really was the author of the films he directed, up there with Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges.)
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