Night And The City

Jules Dassin

 Sub.: from the novel of Gerald Kersh; Scen.: Jo Eisinger; F.: Max Greene; Mo.: Nick De Maggio, Sidney Stone; Scgf.: C.P. Norman; Co.: Oleg Cassini, Margaret Furse; Mu.: Franz Waxman, Benjamin Frankel; Su.: Peter Handfors, Roger Heman; Int.: Richard Widmark (Harry Fabian), Gene Tierney (Mary Bristol), Googie Withers (Helen Nosseross), Hugh Marlowe (Adam Dunn), Francis L. Sullivan (Philip Nosseross), Herbert Lom (Kristo), Stanislaus Zbyszko (Gregorius), Mike Mazurki (the strangler), Charles Farrell (Mickey Beer), Ada Reeve (Molly), Ken Richmond (Nikolas); Prod.: Samuel G. Engel for Twentieth Century Fox Productions; First Pro.: april 1950 






T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Night and the City, the first film that Dassin shot in Europe, in many respects is an American work. With its tone, subject, style, choice of actors (Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney), this film marks the culmination of the filmmaker’s Hollywood career, which is, in our opinion, his greatest success. Does it really matter if Night and the City does not correspond with what Dassin would have wanted to make if he had freed himself of all the demands imposed on him? Fox made him shoot a film that was more commercial than he had wanted. But the director, more so than in previous films, knew how to create the ideal combination of a traditional story and more personal themes. The story is first of all about the city. It then becomes the story of a social environment, at times at the margins of society. It is also, ultimately, the pitiful journey of an individual within this social environment. The relationship with a personal destiny animates, transcends the Ritrovati & Restaurati / Recovered & Restored 31 work’s documentary quality. (…) Generally speaking, it is a testament of the slums of the metropolis, and here Dassin excels in creating surprising portraits in a few seconds (the document forger, the head of all the beggars and all the teeming wildlife of an ambiguous world), capturing the atmosphere of a place, a neighborhood, so thoroughly (Soho, the docks of the East End), avoiding pauperistic condescension. After New York and before Paris, we see London as it has never been seen before in film. Max Greene’s photography brings out the unsuspected poetry of a city suddenly cloaked with strangeness (…). Dassin, faithful to his technique, shot on location, and we follow Harry Fabian as he runs, hysterical, from bar to bar, alley to alley, trying to make his wild plan come true.

Fabien Siclier, Jacques Lévy, Jules Dassin, Edilig, Saint-Amand 1983

The British Night and the City has different music particularly at the intro and slightly different cut. Dassin said he never gave permission for this although he wouldn’t have had that privilege anyhow. The editing was tightened up – in the usual way – for American release. The two versions which covers most of the main differences – the main ones being the completely different music scores throughout (even down to the background music as heard in a bar), the opening scene between Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney being markedly different, and the reordering of shots in the climactic scene. The wrestling scene between Mike Mazurki and Stanislaus Zbysko, for example, is longer and more brutal in the US version. The close-ups of Widmark in scenes in the US version that are not there in the corresponding scenes in the GB version.


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