31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
London noir number one, 25 Nov 2007
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.