Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko). But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh––and Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition. Luminously shot in the streets of London, Jules Dassin’s Night and the City is film noir of the first order and one of the director’s crowning achievements. —The Criterion Collection
Jules Dassin was an Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter and actor best known for his films Rififi (1955), Never on Sunday (1960), and Topkapi (1964).
He was born Julius Samuel Dassin on 18 December 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He was one of eight children of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Samuel Dassin and Berthe Vogel. Young Dassin grew up in Harlem, and he attended Morris High School in the Bronx, graduating in 1929. After taking acting classes in Europe, he returned to New York. In 1934, he became and actor with the ARTEF Players (Arbeter Teater Farband), and was a member of the troupe until 1939. Dassin played character roles in Yiddish, mainly in the plays by Sholom Aleichem. But upon discovering “that an actor I was not,” he switched to directing and writing. At that time, he joined the Communist Party of the United States, but left the party in 1939, he said, disillusioned after the Soviet Union signed a pact with Adolf Hitler… read more
Night and the City is VERY DRAMATIC. It's a joy to just turn yourself over to relishing the melodramatic potential of cinema: lighting, camera angles, soundtrack, and performance. A long, deep, impassioned "roll in the celluloid" with the language of cinema.
Manoel de Oliveira turns 102 today and, as Vitor Pinto reports in Cineuropa, the Portuguese are celebrating with a re-release of his debut