December 18th, 2012: Night and the City (1950)

Night and the City

Cast and Crew:   Darryl F. Zanuck (Executive Producer); Googie Withers, Herbert Lom, Hugh Marlowe, Mike Mazurki

What It’s About: Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) is a two-bit American hustler ex-pat who makes what he can luring the unwary to the seedy nightclub of Philip Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan), where his girl and fellow ex-pat, Mary Bristol (Gene Tierney) sings. While Mary longs to get out of London, and has been saving up to do so, Harry blows their money thinking the next big score is around the corner. Unfortunately when that chance comes in the shape of an encounter with Gregorius (real-life wrestling legend Stanislaus Zbyszko), no one will back Harry’s scheme, because everyone has already been burned by him.  Harry begins hustling everyone, but not everyone takes being burned sitting down…

Why Watch it Today?: Director Jules Dassin was born on this date in 1911, in all places, my hometown,  Middletown, Connecticut.  Dassin was making a name for himself directing Film Noirs like today’s movie and The Naked City when he was subpoenaed by HUAC and blacklisted.  Unable to work in Hollywood, Dassin went on to win acclaim and success with the Heist films he made in Europe, starting with 1955’s Rififi.

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