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 In NIGHT AND THE CITY, director Jules Dassin brilliantly fuses two styles of filmmaking, crossing the expressionist lighting and framing of film noir with the almost documentary location shooting he used for THE NAKED CITY (1948). Dassin treats NIGHT AND THE CITY's central London locations as strange exotic places. As the movie opens, it is nighttime and small-time hood Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) is running from almost unseen pursuers. Harry crosses in front of St. Paul's Cathedral, and Dassin shows this familiar tourist sight from a very high angle, then immediately juxtaposes a shot of Harry escaping through bombed-out ruins. While Dassin and director of photography Max Greene shoot exteriors from high angles or from cramped doorways, they shoot interiors from low angles catching their actors against heavily contrasted backgrounds. The result is a movie full of diamond-sharp, angst-ridden visuals.NIGHT AND THE CITY is built round the dynamic febrile performance of Richard Widmark as the constantly scheming, ever-overreaching Harry. Herbert Lom is brilliant as the Greek who ruthlessly controls wrestling in London. Francis L. Sullivan, huge and slow moving, exudes menace as nightclub owner Phil Nosseross. And Googie Withers is very striking as Nosseross's smart but desperate wife.



Night and the City (1950) is a film noir based on the novel by Gerald Kersh, directed by Jules Dassin, and starring Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney. Shot on location in London, the plot evolves around an ambitious hustler whose plans keep going wrong. The picture is considered a classic of the film noir genre. Director Dassin later confessed that he never read the novel the movie is based upon. In an interview appearing on The Criterion Collection DVD release, Dassin recalls that the casting of Tierney was in response to a request by Darryl Zanuck, who was concerned that personal problems had rendered the actress "suicidal," and hoped that work would improve her state of mind. The film's British version was five minutes longer, with a more upbeat ending and featuring a completely different film score. Dassin has endorsed the American version as closer to his vision. The film has lately been noted as groundbreaking in its lack of sympathetic characters, the punishment of its protagonist, and especially in its realistic portrayal of triumph by racketeers neither slowed nor at all worried by the machinations of law. The film was remade in 1992 starring Robert DeNiro.

Night and the City dvd



Night and the City 1992 dvd