Panic in the Streets

Panic in the Streets ★★★★

The seediness of Kazan’s New Orleans is palpable. At first, I thought the contrast of Barbara Bel Geddes’ suburbia was a mistake. It wasn’t: it’s the canvas for metaphor, as the spreading plague is mirrored by the strain on her marriage to Richard Widmark. 

That strain doesn’t last, because Kazan’s not the kind of director who doubts the power of the American Way. Worth it for the scene where Bel Geddes lays down the law. Widmark’s playing a hero, no doubt, but he brings subtlety and flaws to it. It’s a nuanced performance. Bel Geddes matches him during her limited screen time.

Lots of other good stuff here. Jack Palance had menace from day one, as it turns out. The poor reactions to the pandemic seem prescient from our point of view; I think perhaps it was rather that the Spanish flu epidemic was a mere thirty years past. It’s an excellent little noir.

Boofest 2023: connected to King Creole by New Orleans.

Block or Report

Bryant liked this review