NIGHT AND THE CITY In one of Jules Dassin’s most exciting films, set in pre-Mod London, the great Richard Widmark stars as Harry Fabian, an ambitious hustler who wants to score big by promoting Greco-Roman wrestling, which he thinks will attract customers. Harry works for Philip Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan), operator of a club with his backstabbing wife (Googie Withers), who dreams of dumping her fatso husband and starting her own place. In this rat race it’s all about control and money and what people will do to get them. The one exception is Gene Tierney, who loves and supports Widmark and tries to steer him in the direction of legitimate work, a patent impossibility.
“I was struck by the lightning and thunder of Jules Dassin’s Night and the City, which I saw at another temple of cinephilia, the Studio Parnasse. In 1952, the film had no reputation whatsoever and I was intimidated: how could such a great film be ignored? But I was so impressed by the unusual depth of the Harry Fabian character, and by the prodigious physical acting of Richard Widmark, that I decided to go along with my gut reaction. I had just read Shakespeare and Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck. This film led me fast to discovering genre films and the blacklist.”—Pierre Rissient