- Night and the City review by Steve Mason
Jules Dassin was another talented American director chased out of his country by McCarthy, and the motifs of (breathless) escape and absence of law are central to this, his UK debut. Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) is a no-hope hustler who spends his life on the run through a noirish London peopled by bigger, more savage beasts and living on stolen time.
When he tries to break into the lucrative wrestling game, he calamitously provokes Kristo (Herbert Lom) who runs the racket in the capital. This is an underworld without police, where everyone is on the make, where the criminals bring down each other and only the strongest and most ruthless survive.
It is a cleaned up version of Gerald Kersch's incredibly pessimistic and fatalistic novel; the prostitutes become night club hostesses, etc. Dassin made the socialist film he never could have in Hollywood and portrays London as a Darwinist concrete jungle, never more graphically than in an incredible wrestling scene.
Widmark is indelibly sleazy as the would be big shot Fabian. The cast is all brilliant apart from the misplaced glamour of Gene Tierney. The whole film looks a knockout. This is I think, the only UK noir that really stands up to the US genre on their own terms.
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