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Two Men in Manhattan (1959)

Deux hommes dans Manhattan (original title)
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A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Grasset ...
Pierre Delmas
Christiane Eudes ...
Anne Fèvre-Berthier
Ginger Hall ...
Judith Nelson
Colette Fleury ...
Françoise Bonnot
Monique Hennessy ...
Gloria
Glenda Leigh ...
Virgiia Graham
Jean Darcante ...
Rouvier
Michèle Bailly ...
Bessie Reed (as Michele Bailly)
Paula Dehelly ...
Mme. Fèvre-Berthier
Nancy Delorme
Carole Sands
Gloria Kayser ...
Une fille
Barbara Hall
Monica Ford
Billy Beck ...
Le partenaire de Judith Nelson sur scène
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Storyline

A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

16 October 1959 (France)  »

Also Known As:

2 hommes dans Manhattan  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Two Men in Manhattan
11 October 2010 | by See all my reviews

French director Jean-Pierre Melville is known for directing several classic films such as Bob le flambeur (1956) and Le samouraï (1967), but he also did some acting over the course of his career. However, his only starring role was in his own 1959 crime film Two Men in Manhattan, where he plays a journalist named Moreau who is assigned to find out why a French diplomat named Fèvre-Berthier was absent from a United Nations council meeting. With his photographer friend Delmas (Pierre Grasset), Moreau suspects a female lover might be involved and follows clues from woman to woman in the night of New York City, a place that never sleeps. There also seems to be a car following Moreau and Delmas...

Said to be a combination of American film noir and the budding French New Wave movement, Two Men in Manhattan very neatly utilizes the good sides of both styles. The urban street views and skyscrapers look excellent in the glow of the bright ad signs on store marquees and the dark, stark lighting set up for interior scenes is a joy to the eye too. The laid-back jazz soundtrack is highly enjoyable, creating a mood softer than in hard boiled detective noirs, even though the seedy locations would fit in such flicks seamlessly as well.

A lot of the film's charm lies on the shoulders of the two protagonists, who suit their roles splendidly. Melville's sad-looking appearance matches his character's melancholic but righteous attitude perfectly, while Grasset makes a great pairing for him as the greedy and amoral Delmas, prone to drinking and sleeping around. Ultimately their opposing approaches to the ethics of journalism are what create one of the main themes of the film; namely, examining the responsibility of the press when publishing stories of delicate nature. Besides the lead duo, the supporting actors do a good job too, from a suicidal stage actress Judith Nelson (Ginger Hall) to a jaded cabaret dancer Bessie Reed (Michèlle Bailly) and a jazz singer Virginia Graham (Glenda Leigh) who we get to see recording a haunting song in a studio.

All in all, when a film successfully combines a totally smooth and cool atmosphere with suspense and humour like Two Men in Manhattan does, it just cannot be anything but highly enjoyable. The movie is simply thoroughly entertaining, but since the technical elements are also very skilfully created, there is no reason to skip this one if you're even remotely interested in film noir and French cinema.


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