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UK/USA 1950
Directed by
Jules Dassin
95 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Night And the City

A 20th Century Fox production shot in London with a transatlantic cast Night and the City is a strong late noir that keeps close to a British sensibility

Richard Widmark plays Harry Fabian, a smooth-talking small-time grifter who dreams of “being somebody” albeit in London’s seedy underbelly. After years of putting up with Harry's schemes, his sweet girlfriend, Mary (Gene Tierney), still loves him but is near breaking point, particularly as a nice guy (Hugh Marlowe) from the upstairs flat is very keen on her. Eventually Harry cheats so many people that no amount of lying can save him.

Widmark often played unlikeable, desperate characters and his Harry Fabian is one of his best efforts in this respect. Whilst the story which revolves around Harry’s attempt to establish himself as the king of the London wrestling scene isn’t actually gripping, with stylish direction by Dassin, effective black and white cinematography (including some nice exteriors of London of the day) from Mutz Greenbaum and, besides Widmark’s, excellent performances from supports Francis L. Sullivan as a Soho nightclub owner and Googie Withers as his double-crossing wife (Tierney is lovely but not required to do much except to be devoted) Night and the City is an undeservedly neglected film.

FYI: American-born Dassin was black-listed by HUAC and he was forced to move to France, where his next film, Rififi (1955), became a crime genre classic

Night and the City was remade with the same title in 1992 starring Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange.




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