no way out (1950 analysis)

It takes a great deal of outside-the-mind-stuff to support a moral community.”. Each pillar of the theory has been validated by scientific inquiry.

Can we overcome the radical individualism of our present era and rediscover our essential nature as social beings? To live in a free society, objective standards of right and wrong and good and evil must be seen and valued by enough people to keep the whole experiment in liberty going. Dr. Brooks, played by Poitier, is persecuted throughout the film by the racist Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark). Johnny (Dick Paxton) and Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark), brothers who were both shot in the leg by a policeman as they attempted a robbery, are brought to the hospital's prison ward. Be the first to contribute! With Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally, Sidney Poitier. The wrongly accused doctor in turn gives himself up to law enforcement authority. | Wharton assures Cora that he will stand by Luther, and after he leaves with Edie, Cora's stoic demeanor in front of the whites crumbles and she cries in Gladys' arms. INTEGRATING NO WAY OUT WITH MORAL FOUNDATIONS THEORY. Edie visits Ray to ask him to authorize the autopsy, but he convinces her to organize an attack of the black sector with the lowlife people from Beaver Canal. Widmark did not want to play this role but agreed to it for the greater good that could come from a film dramatizing the evil of racism and its harmful impact on society. Other such riots are still fresh on the minds of many in the black community, such as with Lefty, an elevator operator at the hospital who sports a facial scar and whose sister is permanently wheelchair-bound from a previous riot. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain it's murder and becomes obsessed with vengeance. In The Righteous Mind (2012) moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls for a national renewal of moral capital to rebuild civility in a divided nation. Suspecting of a brain tumor, he begins a procedure but Johnny dies. Although Edie desperately wishes to leave, Rocky forces her to stay. Proudly created with Wix.com, Exploring Essential Truths About Our Human Nature Through Classic Films, No Way Out (1950): Seeking Moral Truth For Life's Hard Questions. Compelling images of some of these foundations, as they appear in No Way Out, including “Care,” “Liberty,” “Loyalty,” and “Authority” are illustrated below.

Meanwhile, Luther arrives at the hospital and learns about the upcoming attack from Lefty Jones (Dots Johnson), a black elevator operator.

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. As a result, the doctor is cleared of any wrongdoing. When an angry white woman spits in his face, he knows he must take strategic action to avoid persecution for a crime he has not committed.

Building on the film’s themes, we need to share with the rising generation a more positive view of human dignity. When Ray refuses, as he does not want his brother's body to be cut up, Wharton confers with the head of the hospital, Dr. Sam Moreland (Stanley Ridges), about requisitioning an autopsy. People naturally become deeply disturbed and sorrowful at the sight of a person suffering from harm. Wondering if Ray's antagonism may have caused him to be careless, Luther consults his mentor, chief medical resident Dr. Daniel Wharton (Stephen McNally), and Wharton concedes that a brain tumor was only one possibility. Meanwhile, when Luther enters Wharton's house, Ray holds a gun on him, beats him and shouts racist slurs. Suddenly, in the final scene he is the only person who can save Ray Biddle’s life. Following the autopsy, the coroner confirms that Johnny died of a brain tumor and that Luther was justified in performing the spinal tap.

Joseph Mankiewicz’s script clearly dramatizes a truth sadly eroding in our culture today: right and wrong are not determined by what political or religious tribe we belong to, but by an objective standard that members of all tribes can recognize and live by. Wharton, Cora and Edie are pleased that Luther has been exonerated, but Ray insists that the doctors are conspiring to bury the truth. Cora relates that after he left the hospital, Luther realized that the coroner would be forced to conduct an autopsy if he were charged with murder. When we think about very large communities such as nations, the challenge is extraordinary and the threat of moral entropy is intense……if you don’t value moral capital, then you won’t foster values, virtues, norms, practices, identifies, institutions, and technologies that increase it.”. This breakthrough film unearths fear and hatred as the emotional roots of racism. No Way Out is a 1950 black-and-white American film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally and Sidney Poitier, who portrays a doctor tending to slum residents whose ethics are tested when confronted with racism, personified by Richard Widmark as the hateful robber Ray Biddle. When the thieves Ray Biddle and his brother Johnny Biddle are brought to the prison wing of the City Hospital shot in the leg by a police officer, the black intern Dr. Luther Brooks is assigned by Dr. Dan Wharton to treat them. And because the story is so tightly wound and the performances are so good, I found myself really caring about the characters. Sidney Poitier, in his very first film, plays a young doctor who is threatened by a psychopathic racist played by Richard Widmark.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz made two films in 1950 and No Way Out is seen as the lesser one since All About Eve won Best Picture. Dr. Wharton and Brooks decide to seek out Johnny's widow Edie Johnson to get the authorization but she explains that they had divorced. 65 years have passed and this film from Joseph L. Mankiewicz still packs a wallop, believe it or not. Paul Zak: Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling - Harvard Business Review, © 2023 by The Book Lover. After overhearing Wharton tell the coroner that he is leaving town for a much-needed rest, Ray and George overpower the police guard and escape. Dr. Brooks manages to remain professional as the brothers discharge their toxic prejudices. Edie watches in disgust as the whites prepare their weapons, but leaves before the blacks surprise the whites by attacking first. Sidney Poitier, Richard Widmark, and Linda Darnell map the geography of good and evil in a town torn by racial divisions. Still, the film is an important effort and the debut film of Sidney Poitier. Edie turns out the lights as Ray shoots at Luther, and although Luther is wounded in the shoulder, he retrieves Ray's gun as he collapses in pain. Moreland, aware that a scandal over the black doctor's actions could endanger funding, denies the request in the hope that the incident will be forgotten. As Haidt points out, authority is seen in hierarchy. Looking at the violence and cultural divisions we experience today, we realize that, as Haidt reminds us, moral communities are “fragile things, hard to build and easy to destroy.” As he says: “Moral communities are fragile things, hard to build and easy to destroy. The #1 Movie Review, Analysis, Question and Answer Site No Way Out (1950) Synopsis: 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. Dr. Brooks wants to continue working under Dr. Wharton if only because he is still somewhat unsure of his abilities despite being at the top of his class and having the full confidence of Dr. Wharton. As Haidt points out, authority is seen in hierarchy. No Way Out is a breakthrough film that confronted racism in a time when America was reluctant to have this conversation. Jonathan Haidt, argues that “innate psychological systems form the foundation of intuitive ethics” across all cultures. Caught between the two worlds is Edie Johnson, Johnny's ex-wife who too has deep seated racist views if only because of her background, yet hates the Biddles and what they represent. No Way Out (1950) Plot. Luther leaves with Cora, followed by Edie, who denounces Ray before she departs. It's like a terrifying jigsaw puzzle. No Way Out marked the feature film debuts of Sidney Poitier and actress Mildred Joanne Smith. | Upon a quick examination and obtaining some information about Johnny, Dr. Brooks believes that the gunshot wound is only secondary to Johnny's bigger problem of a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. “To understand the miracle of moral communities that grow beyond the bounds of kinship we must look not just at people, and not just at the relationships among people, but at the complete environment within which those relationships are embedded, and which makes those people more virtuous (however they themselves define that term). Ray tells her, however, that Johnny would be alive if he had had a white doctor, and that Wharton wants to have the autopsy to cover up the truth about Luther's actions.

The racist Ray accuses him of killing his brother and does not authorize the autopsy to confirm Dr. Brooks' diagnosis.

No Way Out, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, was made in 1950, a decade before the civil rights movement began. Dr. Brooks is insulted by the racist Ray and finds Johnny completely disoriented.

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