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Richard Widmark & Jules Dassin


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That was a wonderful article on the film noir connection of Widmark and Dassin. Thanks for posting the link. The next film noir I'm gonna watch is definitely going to be Night and the City. How I've resisted Gene Tierney, Widmark, and Dassin this long is beyond me. I also have Thieves' Highway and Rififi on DVD. Tsk, tsk, shame and double shame.

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I'd like to see *Night and the City* again one day. I didn't care for it the first time. I don't think I have ever seen Thieves Highway, but I could be wrong. By Dassin I've seen The Naked City, Brute Force, The Canterville Ghost and his first Hollywood short, "The Tell-Tale Heart". That's all. None are great favorites, I must admit.

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Do yourself a giant favor, you lucky Goddess, you!

thdassin.JPG

The late Mr. Dassin.

 

Enjoy a dvd of Jules Dassin's *Thieves Highway* pronto. Great work from Dassin, Richard Conte, Millard Mitchell and, believe it or not, Jack Oakie! (This film is also as unlike *Brute Force* & The Naked City as rye whiskey is from calvados).

thcobb.JPG

Rotten bad guy Lee J. Cobb is muscling in on the "little guy" trying to make an honest buck hauling apples to market and looking for a little justice in this cockeyed world.

 

*Valentina Cortese* is a tough cookie who's seen it all, until she gets an eyeful of Mr. Conte.

thcortese.jpg

Ms. Cortese making a play for Nick Conte, (the hussy!).

 

Though I'm not as big a Cortese fan as most red-blooded males I know, I became a Richard Conte and Millard Mitchell aficionado at the about 8 when I first saw this flick.

thmillard.jpg

Millard Mitchell, just trying to keep on truckin' while Jack Oakie and Joe Pevney look on.

 

Thieves Highway was written by A.I. Bezzerides (author of the story of *They Drive By Night*, among other working class hero tales). The dvd includes an excerpt from a documentary about *Bezzerides*, (below) who was quite a character well into his salty old age. It also includes some wonderful excerpts from an interview with Dassin, who was full of charm and kept his Hollywood experiences in good natured perspective.

thaibezzirides.JPG

 

Now, when you're done reveling in that that bit of noir, * lol *, you might enjoy seeking out Jules Dassin's first feature film *Nazi Agent* (1942) with the wondrous Conrad Veidt in a dual role. It's a lot of fun and you can read some comments made about it here.

veidt.JPG

 

Btw, Miss G. have you seen Never on Sunday??

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Per usual, that was a terrific post, Moira!

 

I just wanted to quickly add that A.I. Bezzerides penned one of Miss G's favorite films noir: On Dangerous Ground. The Bezzerides-Nick Ray combination was highly successful.

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Hi Moira, you've made Thieves Highway very fetching indeed---I really, REALLY like Richard Conte so I will rent it pronto. :)

 

Yes, I've seen Never on Sunday. I thought it was alright. The actress is remarkable and so is her character, but I didn't like any of the male actors much. I can never get enough of Greece, though.

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  • 2 months later...

I paid the extra that Criterion charges for Night and the City and Thieves' Highway...two outstanding, bleak late 50s noirs. Too bad they weren't part of the relatively inexpensive Fox Noir series.

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"Night and the City" is very good, very atmospheric and doom-laden. Gene Tierney feels as if she wandered in from another movie, but that isn't fatal. Herbert Lom is one of the bad guys, which adds a lot.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Moira, everyone: I finally got to THIEVES HIGHWAY today (I ticked off three "finally saw"

movies today: this one, Gun Crazy and Fear in the Night. Whew! It's a dirty

job but someone had to do it. :D )

 

I was really impressed with the acting by Richard Conte, Jack Oakie and Millard Mitchell.

They kept it going for me, that and the beautiful black-and-white cinematography. That

scene when Mitchell upsets all his apple carts, that was tremendously frightening and

real, but yet very creatively shot. Well done, Julie.

 

I can't say it's a favorite, it's a bit too gritty and I can see how it would influence much

later filmakers. I'm glad the story was told, though, because it needed (still does) to be.

Corruption and intimidation---thievery---exists at every level. People like Figlia (Lee J. Cobb)

spring up everywhere if given a chance to take root. Great work by Cobb, but then he's in

his element playing a loudmouth bully. :D

 

It was Conte who surprised me, though. I've always liked and admired him but this may

be the best work I've seen him do. He's a little looser, more emotional and gets down

into the character, if you know what I mean. He can sometimes seem a bit "distant" in

his work. I did not sense any of that here.

 

I have one question: Did Bezzerides make an appearance in this movie? I know he

does in On Dangerous Ground and I just wondered if he was one of the guys

in the market. A couple of them looked like they could have been him.

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MissG wrote: *It was Conte who surprised me, though. I've always liked and admired him but this may be the best work I've seen him do. He's a little looser, more emotional and gets down into the character, if you know what I mean.*

 

Conte didn't "surprise" me, but I agree that it is probably his best performance. He was born to play Greek (did Bezzerides have anything to do with that?). *Thieves Highway* is my favorite Dassin film (as the poster residing outside our bedroom attests -- the Greek in the house permitted it), but *The Naked City* is close.

 

But the important statement is: *ticked off three "finally saw" movies today: this one, Gun Crazy and Fear in the Night.*

 

Okay, (don't let Dewey read this) *Fear in the Night* is good, lots of fun, etc., but not _the_ film noir. But you finally saw Gun Crazy? The greatest film noir ever made? (The correct answer is "Yes, ChiO, it is the greatest film noir that I have ever seen and, perhaps, the greatest film I have ever seen that was not directed by Samuel Fuller.") What did you think? Wasn't it the encapsulation of all we want and need in a movie?

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

>

> But you finally saw Gun Crazy? The greatest film noir ever made? (The correct answer is "Yes, ChiO, it is the greatest film noir that I have ever seen and, perhaps, the greatest film I have ever seen that was not directed by Samuel Fuller.") What did you think? Wasn't it the encapsulation of all we want and need in a movie?

 

Correct Answer:

"Yes, Your honor, it is the greatest film noir that I have ever seen and, perhaps, the

greatest film I have ever seen that was not directed by Samuel Fuller."

 

Wasn't it the encapsulation of all we want and need in a movie?

"Absolutely."

 

;)

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Ohhhhhhhhhh hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Barbara that is the FUNNIEST

thing I've seen in a loooong time on YouTube! Oh my goodness, I wonder if I saw that

episode as a kid and had no idea to what it was referring. A letter to Julie Dassin: you

should have hired Miss Piggy instead! :D

 

Greasy Greek dancing pigs! It's priceless.

 

I love the critics. Those are actually the only two critics whose opinions I trust.

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> I am soooooo happy you loved that!! I was limp with hysterical laughing the first time I saw it this evening.

 

Miss Piggy is my heroine! The last really great star in the classic tradition! :D

 

I honestly didn't remember that episode, thanks for finding it. I'm tempted to

get a DVD of the Muppet Show, I loved it so as a child but now I think I could

scarcely have understood even half of what was going on.

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Miss Piggy is my favorite diva, porcine or otherwise.

 

I didn't know the Muppets were so bawdy, lol. There's one with Miss P. singing a lusty version of "The Entertainer" (you think she's going to strip) and she's practically got her BOTTOM in Rowlf's face. (but he doesn't look like he minds)

 

Opa!

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> Miss Piggy is my favorite diva, porcine or otherwise.

>

 

That's the perfect word for her, "diva". I used to even love her dresses when I was

a kid (I was always fascinated by the shows where women---and pigs---wore glamorous

evening gowns, you know, like "Dynasty" and all that. Miss Piggy's costumes could

have been designed by Norman Norell or whoever he was, ha!)

 

> I didn't know the Muppets were so bawdy, lol. There's one with Miss P. singing a lusty version of "The Entertainer" (you think she's going to strip) and she's practically got her BOTTOM in Rowlf's face. (but he doesn't look like he minds)

>

> Opa!

>

 

:D They were. Even I could sense that back then, mainly because of the sometimes

leering remarks by the "critics". It was definitely a grown-up show. I'll have to

check out "The Entertainer", ha haaaa!!

 

No wonder Kermit felt overwhelmed by her.

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Just a footnote prompted by your mention of Joseph Pevney: I remember him from BODY AND SOUL, where he plays John Garfield's pal Shorty. He went on to direct B pictures, and he directed a few episodes of the original Star Trek TV series, including "The Trouble With Tribbles."

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