[Movie] Night and the City (1950)

  • Directed by: Jules Dassin
  • Cast: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney
  • Based on Night and the City (novel) by Gerald Kersh

Harry. Harry. You could have been anything. Anything. You had brains… ambition. You worked harder than any 10 men. But the wrong things. Always the wrong things…

by Mary Bristol in the movie

Here is another film noir movie with a distinctive flavor. “Night and the city” is a story of a scam artist who pursued the wrong end and met with the deadly punishment of his recklessly bold attempts to become a big shot.

Reaction to the movie can be debatable. The screenplay might lack a valid or reasonable storyline. The protagonist’s bluff and actions seem too exaggerated and do not add up. But somehow, his action fits quite well with the character. The director succeeded in creating a powerful emotional drama of resentment and annoyance.

Harry Fabian (the protagonist) is always running, from the first scent to the last. He wants to be something but always in the wrong way (and in a quick way). As Miss Marple always finds out the matching character in her small town, he reminds you of somebody you know or might be heard. The portrait of the character seems too real even in the 21st century.

Another highlight of the film is the very tough and prolonged fight scene between Stanislaus Zbyszko, a celebrated professional wrestler in real life, and Mike Mazurki, who was a professional wrestler before becoming an actor.

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