Rent Night and the City (1950)

3.9 of 5 from 108 ratings
1h 32min
Rent Night and the City Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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  • Available formats
Synopsis:
Richard Widmark delivers an indelible performance as Harry Fabian, a small-time American nightclub tout and desperate dreamer who tries to worm his way into the wrestling rackets of post-war London. In his path lie the formidable obstacles posed by a vengeful club owner (Francis Sullivan) and the racketeer Kristo (Herbert Lorn). The club owner's sultry wife (Googie Withers) schemes with him, and a long-suffering girlfriend (Gene Tierney) does her best to save him. Like many a noir hero before him, Harry thinks he can outrun his fate. He's wrong.
Jules Dassin, under suspicion in Hollywood for his political beliefs, made the film at great speed, shooting night scenes in a London still shattered and skeletal from wartime bombings.
Actors:
, , , , , , Stanislaus Zbyszko, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Samuel G. Engel
Writers:
Jo Eisinger, Gerald Kersh, Austin Dempster, William E. Watts
Studio:
BFI Video
Genres:
Classics, Drama, Thrillers
BBFC:
Release Date:
15/10/2007
Run Time:
92 minutes
Languages:
English
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Interview with Jules Dassin, commentary by Paul Duncan and comparison of US and British versions
BBFC:
Release Date:
28/09/2015
Run Time:
96 minutes
Languages:
English LPCM Mono
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • US version audio commentary by film noir expert Paul Duncan
  • British version audio commentary by film expert Adrian Martin
  • Richard Widmark Interviewed by Adrian Wootton (2002, 72 mins): extensive interview filmed onstage at the National Film Theatre
  • The Guardian Lecture: Jules Dassin Interviewed by Alexander Walker (1981, 52 mins, audio with stills): a far-reaching onstage discussion

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Reviews (1) of Night and the City

London Noir. - Night and the City review by Steve Mason

Spoiler Alert
Updated 28/02/2021

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.

6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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