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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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In the beginning, for me, a film noir HAD to be set in NYC, LA, or San Fran, for me to like. Something was missing if it was outside those places, especially outside the US. Soon I got past that and found movies like "City" real gems - and what a gem it is. The story is so compelling and holds you from the beginning to the end. A fantastic cast with Widmark really outdoing himself. If you've never seen this one, you must! 

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22 hours ago, decojoe67 said:

In the beginning, for me, a film noir HAD to be set in NYC, LA, or San Fran, for me to like. Something was missing if it was outside those places, especially outside the US. Soon I got past that and found movies like "City" real gems - and what a gem it is. The story is so compelling and holds you from the beginning to the end. A fantastic cast with Widmark really outdoing himself. If you've never seen this one, you must! 

Yea, a great noir.    Only the Gene Tierney character wasn't fully developed,  making her too much of a good girl instead of the type of gal that would be with a man like Fabian. 

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I so agree. In my opinion, as great as Tierney was, it's only "Laura" that I like her in. She was perfect in that role with her beauty and glamour. I never really saw her as a noir actress. 

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Richard Widmark at his slimy best.  He does good guy roles well also, but its his slimy bad characters that he plays the best.  In this film, even though he was wrong, you were pulled in to his character and his plight.

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On 4/19/2018 at 12:45 PM, Moorman said:

Richard Widmark at his slimy best.  He does good guy roles well also, but its his slimy bad characters that he plays the best.  In this film, even though he was wrong, you were pulled in to his character and his plight.

Night and the City has my favorite Widmark performance.   Yea,  his slimy best,  but he still brings a degree of humanity to the character and this makes him sympathetic.    We know he deserves his fate but we still feel sorry for him. 

 

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13 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Night and the City has my favorite Widmark performance.   Yea,  his slimy best,  but he still bring a degree of humanity to the character and this makes him sympathetic.    We know he deserves his fate but we still feel sorry for him. 

 

I loved Widmark in " The Street with No Name " also.  He was a very good villian in that one.  Have you seen it?

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45 minutes ago, Moorman said:

I loved Widmark in " The Street with No Name " also.  He was a very good villian in that one.  Have you seen it?

No I haven't but it is on my list of films to see.   Since it is a 20th Century Fox film (and a lesser known one),  TCM isn't likely to show it.   

I have seen Road House and Widmark is another unstable guy in this film.   Not 'bad' especially at the start,  but once he loses it,  he causes a lot of grief for Wilde and Lupino. 

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

No I haven't but it is on my list of films to see.   Since it is a 20th Century Fox film (and a lesser known one),  TCM isn't likely to show it.   

I have seen Road House and Widmark is another unstable guy in this film.   Not 'bad' especially at the start,  but once he loses it,  he causes a lot of grief for Wilde and Lupino. 

Cool. Make sure you check him out in The street with No Name.  Thanks for the recommendation for Road House. I've looked at a trailer and some clips. Gonna try and screen it and decide if i wanna purchase it.

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On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 3:42 PM, Moorman said:

Cool. Make sure you check him out in The street with No Name.  Thanks for the recommendation for Road House. I've looked at a trailer and some clips. Gonna try and screen it and decide if i wanna purchase it.

If you're going to watch Widmark films the first must-see selection should be "Kiss of Death" (1948). It's the quintessential Widmark role with the infamous, and shocking for the time, woman in the wheelchair scene. A mega-classic noir.

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11 hours ago, decojoe67 said:

If you're going to watch Widmark films the first must-see selection should be "Kiss of Death" (1948). It's the quintessential Widmark role with the infamous, and shocking for the time, woman in the wheelchair scene. A mega-classic noir.

Thanks for the recommendation.  I'm gonna check it out.  From what  you said, it looks interesting. 

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On 4/22/2018 at 9:39 PM, decojoe67 said:

If you're going to watch Widmark films the first must-see selection should be "Kiss of Death" (1948). It's the quintessential Widmark role with the infamous, and shocking for the time, woman in the wheelchair scene. A mega-classic noir.

Ok. I watched " Kiss of Death ".  Widmark gave a fine performance. The movie itself was pretty good.  The only drawback to the movie is I wish Widmark had more screen time.  He was very menacing in the scenes he was in. 

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2 minutes ago, Moorman said:

Ok. I watched " Kiss of Death ".  Widmark gave a fine performance. The movie itself was pretty good.  The only drawback to the movie is I wish Widmark had more screen time.  He was very menacing in the scenes he was in. 

I knew you would like it. Yes, it seems Widmark was just making a name for himself in that one. Never would he play such a menacing role.

Oh, I have another MUST SEE Widmark film noir for you! - "The Street With No Name" (1948) - Widmark is a tough gangster again in that one. You'll really enjoy it. Another total noir classic. 

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5 minutes ago, decojoe67 said:

I knew you would like it. Yes, it seems Widmark was just making a name for himself in that one. Never would he play such a menacing role.

Oh, I have another MUST SEE Widmark film noir for you! - "The Street With No Name" (1948) - Widmark is a tough gangster again in that one. You'll really enjoy it. Another total noir classic. 

I've seen " The Street with No Name ".  Its been a while. He was pretty very good in that one also. I've seen " Pickup on South Street " also.  Rarely does Widmark let you down.  

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