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bogeyboy

Night and the City-1950

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       I have been wanting to write about a movie for a while but have not felt compelled to do so until I watched "Night and the City" yesterday.  This was the second time I watched the film and it has only improved with another viewing.  As with most film noir this movie paints a dismal picture of the human condition; what makes "City" so  fascinating is its commitment to nihilism-nobody, I mean nobody escapes without their souls being scalded.  Jules Dassin is a great director and aptly guides us down a path built upon self-delusion, greed, amorality and wantonness.  I should preface this by saying I have a very limited time to write this piece so I am going to just proceed at a crisp  pace, letting my thoughts spew forth rapidly with little censorship.  Richard Widmark is a very good actor, more than adept at playing the antihero, a guy with little or no redeeming qualities  (only after suffering through the moral evils that arose in WW11 could such a character as Harry Fabian be portrayed in a Hollywood movie.  Fabian is a low level con man, an expatriate American, hustling his way through the sordid underbelly of post war London.  He wants to be a great man, respected by others yet has very little appreciation of his own value.  The haunted, fragile Gene Tierney plays his girlfriend Mary (Zanuck asked Dassin to cast Tierney, she had become depressed and suicidal, he thought the work might help), a decent gal whose only flaw is that she loves Harry.  And that's what makes this film so powerful, everybody is flawed, everybody is blind to their failings everybody is self deluded.  They are grasping for the brass ring but the ring is ultimately out of reach for one and all.  Mary loves Harry but he can't love her back.  Francis L. Sullivan as the owner of the nightclub Mary works in and Harry works  out of, loves Googie Withers his wife and assistant, but  Googie loathes him and desperately wants to leave and start her own club.  There is a secondary plot about an over the hill wrestler and his son who are at odds with one another-again the love of father and son is thwarted by misunderstanding, pride and greed.  Atmospheric, with great character actors populating the film, this is a movie that no lover of film noir (or of movies in general) should miss. Franz Waxman's pounding, incessant score adds much to the proceedings and I thought the script was dynamite.  Even with revenge there is no peace; Harry gets what's coming to him; he (somewhat) redeems himself by helping Mary at the end but no one is saved.  Mary may find comfort in the arms of the bland Hugh Marlowe but he is not the man she loves.  The gangster avenges his father's death but his father is still dead.  Wither's ambition leads to complete degradation and loss of all she (mis) values and Sullivan decides death is better than loving a woman who can't stand him.  You won't find God here and if you are looking for him go watch "It's a Wonderful Life."  If you love film noir and all it represents( darkness, cynicism, amorality, fear, betrayal and guilt) catch or  recatch "Night and the City"; you will not be disappointed

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Yes...a very good film. Excellent director (Jules Dassin).

 

The 1992 remake pales by comparison.

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Very nice write up of one of my favorite noir films,   bogeyboy.  

 

And unlike so many Bogie noirs this one stays true to form;   no happy ending here!

 

 

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One correction Francis L. Sullivan plays the nightclub owner, not Herbert Lom. Lom played the wrestling promoter.

 

I'd also add stay away from the De Niro remake it has zero atmosphere and sucks.

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NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950) will be airing on Retroplex next month...on September 6, 10, 22 & 23.

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Thanks for all those who responded to my review of "Night and the City."  I cleaned it up and corrected any factual errors (Sullivan not Lom).  I am going to post my review of "Thieves Highway, hope you like it.  Ciao!

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Thanks for all those who responded to my review of "Night and the City."  I cleaned it up and corrected any factual errors (Sullivan not Lom).  I am going to post my review of "Thieves Highway, hope you like it.  Ciao!

 

How great...I love THIEVES HIGHWAY.

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