Lists of must-see films for any self-respecting fan almost always include Casablanca and Citizen Kane, and deservedly so. But there are so many other worthy pictures which are often overlooked. So, from film-fan to film-fan, here’s a recommendation from our must-see list.
NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950)
Director: Jules Dassin
Starring: Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney
Writers: Jo Eisinger, screenplay, based on the novel by Gerald Kersh
Editors: Nick DeMaggio and Sidney Stone
Harry Fabian (Widmark) hustles and scams his way through London’s seedier side. Makes the London of EastEnders look downright chipper. But Fabian has such big dreams. All he wants to do is become successful – at something.
This week it’s wrestling promotion.
Oh, but the problem is in the way he goes about it. You just can’t rob people, sell folks fake liquor licenses, shill for dodgy nightclubs and expect anything good to come your way.
And his version of crowdfunding – asking his even shadier associates for money to launch his “chance of a lifetime” – isn’t exactly fruitful, either.
Gene Tierney plays Mary Bristol, Fabian’s far too understanding and forgiving girlfriend, who has plenty of reason to be otherwise.
Facing duplicity at nearly every turn, he can never be certain who to trust – and neither can we. Almost everybody is predator and prey in this film. Dark and treacherous to the nth degree, this Night and the City is full of folks who would betray their entire families without losing a single moment of sleep.
Franz Waxman’s score and Max Greene’s cinematography are great. Poor Richard Widmark must have ticked off every costume designer from Los Angeles to New York and back, because some of the suits his character wears are a bit hard on the eyes, but the film is fantastic.
RATING: Five Whistles
HOW TO WATCH: Amazon
IMAGES: Courtesy of Criterion
OTHER MOVIES TO KNOW:
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
H.J. Saunders, MA, CET
An exercise physiologist and personal trainer, H.J. has been involved in the health, fitness, and recreational industries for over 25-years. H.J. is an internationally recognized fitness innovator and crusader, developing comprehensive exercise and well-care programs for individuals and organizations ranging from neighborhood elementary schools, to multi-million dollar corporations and institutions He has also been involved with government initiatives such as The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent & Decrease Overweight & Obesity, and The Physical Activity Guidelines and National Plan for Americans. Articles and interviews have appeared in local and national magazines, periodicals, and on radio and television. Shihan Saunders is a practicing 6th degree black belt and teaches Isshinryu Karate to people of all ages. H.J. is founder and president of The Youth Fitness Coalition (www.cofitness.net). He is also a member of SAG-AFTRA.
Ylana Kellar, MFA
Ylana is an actress‚ writer and singer whose credits include: Playing Alexina (Theatre of Necessity), In the Family Way (produced and directed by Rachel Gordon), and Everything’s Coming Up Ro’ses (web series created by and starring Roetta Collins‚ directed by Lee Eypper). On the other side of the camera, Ylana has associate-produced several travelogue shorts for The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park Visitors Center (Middlebrook, Missouri)‚ and the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower Visitors Center (Hartford‚ Illinois)‚ all of which were produced and directed by Geralyn Abinader | gaMedia Group. Ylana currently serves on the SAG-AFTRA New York Local Women’s Committee. She is a former member of the boards of directors of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and Women in the Arts and Media Coalition. She has produced numerous entertainment / arts based programs, and has served as a panelist and moderator for such programs as well. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA (www.ylana.net).
In their spare time H.J. and Ylana watch too many movies, read too many liner notes, and run the on-line vintage yard-sale Rita’s Retros www.ritasretros.com.