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Monday, May 16, 2016

Night And The City (1950)

Set in London, an American hustler and con man (Richard Widmark) dreams of making it big. But his "get rich quick" schemes only frustrates his girlfriend (Gene Tierney). When he finally hits the big time or so he thinks, he finds himself over his head and no good can come of it. Based on the novel by Gerald Kersh, this was the first of many films that the blacklisted expatriate Jules Dassin (THE NAKED CITY) would make in Europe. It's a sensational piece of film noir, dark and gritty right through to the grim and fatalistic conclusion. In one of his very best performances, Widmark is desperate and pitiful yet he never begs for sympathy. He's a loser who can never get the right breaks yet convinced of his ability to hit it big but he just doesn't have the brains for it. The film is somewhat slowed down by Tierney and Hugh Marlowe's characters who seem somewhat extraneous and indeed, both characters were eliminated from the inferior 1992 remake with Robert De Niro. I watched the British version which is 6 minutes longer than the American version and has a score by Benjamin Frankel (Franz Waxman did the American score). With Googie Withers, Francis L. Sullivan, Mike Mazurki, Stanislas Zbyszko and Herbert Lom.

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