Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.
Harry Fabian is a London hustler with ambitious plans that never work out. One day, when he encounters the most famous Greco-Roman wrestler in the world, Gregorius, at a London wrestling arena run by his son Kristo, he dreams up a scheme that he thinks will finally be his ticket to financial independence. As Fabian attempts to con everyone around him to get his scheme to work, he of course only ends up conning himself. This is an interesting tale of blind ambition, self-deception, broken dreams, and how a man who always thinks he's ahead of the game ends up tripping himself very badly.Written by
Alan Katz <email@example.com>
There are 2 versions of the film: the British release and the International/American release. There are a few scenes added to the British version and the scores of the 2 films are entirely different See more »
When Philip is meeting with Harry, and holding Kristo's business card, during a medium shot, Philip is holding the card with one hand, then in an immediately following close-up shot, he is holding the card with two hands, then in the immediately following medium shot, he is again holding it in one hand again. See more »
An alternate British version exists that includes scenes deleted in the American version, different title credits, a different opening scene with Widmark and Tierney, and a completely different score composed by Benjamin Frankel. This version runs 101 minutes, 5 minutes longer than the American version. See more »
Forgotten noir that will eventually become a classic
"Night and the City" was the final film for Jules Dassin in the U.S. before being blacklisted. He eventually moved to France but didn't make another film until 1955. Though he is best remembered for the films he did with his wife, Melina Mercouri, this is one of his great movies, a very gritty film noir with London as its background.
Richard Widmark plays Harry Fabian, a low-life con man who makes money as a tout for a club, i.e., he seeks out male tourists and gets them to spend their money there. The club is owned by Phil Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan) and his wife Helen, who hates her husband and wants to start her own business. Working there is Fabian's girlfriend (Gene Tierney) who loves him in spite of the fact that he's constantly borrowing or stealing money from her.
Harry hits on a scheme to break into wrestling promotion in London. Unfortunately, Kristo (Herbert Lom) has it sewn up. Though his father (Stanislaus Zbyszko, a real-life wrestler) was a great wrestling champion doing Greco-Roman boxing, Kristo does not promote it. This has actually caused a rift between father and son, and Harry moves right in. With the elder Kristo on his side, Harry gets his chance to promote Greco-Roman wrestling. He gets the needed money by promising Helen that he will get her a license to open her business, though the building supposedly can't be licensed for another year. The results of Harry's project lead to tragedy as he brings everybody down with him.
Filmed in black and white only adds to the grittiness of "Night and the City" as Harry runs through London. The film moves as swiftly as he does, leading to the inevitable but exciting climax.
This was a powerhouse role for Richard Widmark, who is a slimy, desperate, and fast-talking Harry. The problem with Harry is, he's really not that good of a con man. He's sloppy. He can get guys into the club but that's about it. He rubs the wrong people the wrong way, and he makes everyone angry until finally, he's a complete untouchable as Kristo chases after him. Widmark gives us a perfect portrait. Tierney is in the film only at the request of Zanuck, who wanted to distract her from her personal problems; she has a surprisingly small role. Herbert Lom is fantastic as Kristo. Stanislaus Zbyszko, whom Dassin sought out, gives a poignant performance as Gregorius the Great. The wonderfully talented Googie Withers is great as the cold and sophisticated Helen. You totally believes she loathes her husband. And Sullivan's Nesseros is easy to loathe as a wealthy worm who plays both ends against the middle to destroy Fabian. They all end up destroying themselves.
Apparently this film did not get appropriate distribution or something, because it's a great film, now out on DVD, and very few people know it. Hopefully, like "Nightmare Alley," another film that was ill-served by Hollywood, it will continue to gain in cult status. It deserves to be seen.
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