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Night And The City [1950] [DVD]

Price: £8.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Night And The City [1950] [DVD] + The Naked City [DVD] [1948]
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Product details

  • Actors: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, Herbert Lom
  • Directors: Jules Dassin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Oct. 2007
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000SKKCZ0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,420 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


A film by Jules Dassin

Richard Widmark delivers an indelible performance as Harry Fabian, a small-time American nightclub tout and desperate dreamer who tries to worm his way into the wrestling rackets of post-war London. In his path lie the formidable obstacles posed by a vengeful club owner (Francis Sullivan) and the racketeer Kristo (Herbert Lom). The club owner's sultry wife (Googie Withers) schemes with him and a long-suffering girlfriend (Gene Tierney) does her best to save him. Like many a noir hero before him, Harry thinks he can outrun his fate. He's wrong.

Jules Dassin, under suspicion in Hollywood for his political beliefs, made the film at great speed, shooting night scenes in a London still shattered and skeletal from wartime bombings. Adapted from the lowlife novel by Gerald Kersh, Night and the City is a baroque masterpiece of corruption, paranoia and doom.

DVD extras

  • Interview with Jules Dassin, commentary by Paul Duncan and comparison of US and British versions
  • Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Lee Server and Paul Duncan

UK | 1950 | black & white | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 92 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Emanon on 27 Mar. 2009
Format: DVD
NIGHT AND THE CITY is an often overlooked classic of British Film Noir which tells the story of the downfall of low life hustler Harry Fabian in a haunting performance by Richard Widmark, a screen actor who rarely was given material worthy of his considerable talents. This is a tragic story of a dreamer who fails and the damage he unwittingly does to the victims he takes down with him; a story of the cruelty of desperation; and a story of the evil men do. From the moment you see him, you know that things probably aren't going to turn out too well for Harry and the unraveling of his plans is painful to watch, and yet utterly compelling as well. You really can't take your eyes off the screen and the images in this film will haunt you long after the final fade to black.

It looks gorgeous too. The photography of a lost London is strangely beautiful, and the restoration of this BFI edition is stunning, considering that the material is nearly 60 years old. The extras include an informative commentary, a revealing interview with the Director Jules Dassin himself and a feature on the two different scores for the film which manages to include the alternative scenes in an interesting and novel way and which also help to explain some of the more obscure plot points lost in the main (American release) version of the feature presentation.

Harry also wears one of the loudest jackets put on film since Dallow's suit in Brighton Rock, and yet it all manages to be a slick and stylish slice of underworld life in 1950s London. This is a film that deserves to be better known. Highly recommended.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Bray on 25 Nov. 2007
Format: DVD
Sweaty hopes and fears all played out in a glistening black and white, bombsite London as a hyped up Widmark makes all the wrong choices. He's cashing in on trust and all that's true in favour of the main chance. He's so close he can taste it as he criss-crosses town from west end clip joints to east end grotesques.

Every frame of this film could be framed. Every tight little set piece confrontation of a scene painted in fathomless black and searing white.

Personally, I could do without the statutory American star playing the lead without any explanation of what he's doing in London town. Widmark's performance brings a kinetic jumping jack flash momentum to the film but his performance can appear overheated - a stranger in a strangely re-imagined London with all its knowing, beaten-down old world inhabitants and actors. Though then again - overall - somehow the injection of Hollywood fire, skill and energy into a typical English tale of spivs and seedy desperation, does work - creating a unique London Noir.

A couple of good features packaged in with the DVD include an interview with Director, Jules Dassin, and a docco about the difference in cut and soundtrack between the US and UK versions of the film. From which we learn that the actor playing the old wrestler was infact played by a real former world wrestling champion, Stanislaus Cyganiewicz, who had never acted before in his life. Must have been a hell of a man because he brings a memorable depth and dignity to the role. Equally memorable is Francis Sullivan as the urbane clip joint impressario. Fat man in a suit with all the angles covered except for the love he knows his hopeless for his wife who despises him in equal measure to her desire to use his money to strike out on her own in the soho demi-monde. Just another tough luck story and just another night in the city.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 July 2007
Format: DVD
Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) is a two-bit hustler in London. He has great dreams and great delusions. He manages to cheat and betray everyone he deals with. He has sleazy charm and the glad-handing confidence of a true loser. Nothing good is going to come of the things Harry involves himself in, and nothing does. After meeting an aging, famous wrestler, Gregorius (Stanislaus Zlysko), he hatches a scheme to start his own wrestling promotions and convinces himself that the mob that controls wrestling won't do a thing to stop him because his wrestler is the father of the mob boss, Kristo (Herbert Lom). The old man believes in the honor and purity of real Greco-Roman wrestling and Harry cons him into thinking his comeback will be the ruin of the flashy, phony stuff that's being promoted by his son. Along the way Harry steals from the club owner he works for, Phil Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan), cuckolds him with his wife, Helen Nosseross (Googie Withers), whom he also betrays, and deludes the one woman who loves him, Mary Bristol (Gene Tierney). Things go very wrong for Harry when Phil does some betraying of his own. A brutal climax of the movie is when one of Kristo's wrestlers, The Strangler (Mike Mazurki), shows up at Harry's training hall and taunts Gregorius. Things spin out of control and suddenly Gregorius and The Strangler are in the ring and at each other's throats, a powerful old man and a wrestling thug. No one can stop them and the fight goes on and on. Gregorius finally wins, but dies minutes later. Harry has suddenly lost his protection against Kristo. He flees with Kristo's mob after him, running down wet streets and the embankment of the Thames. He doesn't escape.

This is an excellent movie that in many ways points to how powerful a well-done noir can be.
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