Directed by Jules Dassin
Based on the novel Night and the City by Gerald Kersh
Screenplay by Jo Eisinger
Starring: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, Francis L. Sullivan
This film is yet another example of classic film noir. This one is based on the novel Night and the City which was written by Gerald Kersh (Nine Men). Jules Dassin (Brute Force) directed this film using a screenplay written by Jo Eisinger (Crime of Passion). The cast of this one includes Richard Widmark (Two Rode Together), Gene Tierney (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir), Googie Withers (The Lady Vanishes), Hugh Marlowe (All About Eve), and Francis L. Sullivan (Great Expectations (1948)).
This is a really great story that works great twists into the constructs of the film-noir genre. The writing builds a fascinating world that serves as the colorful backdrop for this story to play out. One of the best aspects of the screenplay is that the motivations of every character are laid bare early on. This keeps the story from being predictable since there is something in the game for each of the central figures. The characters are all interesting and uniquely flawed. The story is often more dark than you might expect from a 1950’s film. The dialogue is also nicely written in a way that feels genuine to the setting and the plot. If you’re looking for really suspenseful film-noir, this is one to see.
Richard Widmark was an excellent choice for the lead role in this film. His performance brings out a sense of desperation and hope that is sometimes frustrating and often a little sad. He seemed to understand the needs of his character as well as the flaws. He also does a great job with the highs and lows that his character experiences throughout the film. The chemistry between Widmark and the rest of the cast is evident from the very beginning. Gene Tierney does an equally great job with another complicated role in the movie. Her chemistry with Widmark really adds something special to this one. The film also benefits from the nice work done by Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, and Francis L. Sullivan. Their performances all add to the unique blend of personalities throughout the movie. Their work also adds a lot to the tension and suspense within the film. This one also features a number of actors in smaller roles that really add a nice texture to the world of the film. Overall, the cast does all the right things with this one.
This movie has great visuals to go with the performances. Light and shadow play like a non-speaking character in great film-noir. Cinematographer Mutz Greenbaum (Nine Days a Queen) did a great job adding visual tension to the film beginning to end. Every scene feels perfectly blocked, and the camera always seems to find great angles to catch the action from. The music in the film also adds a nice touch.
Overall, this movie is a great example of classic film-noir. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is one you need to check out. I would also suggest this to anyone looking to see what film-noir is all about. This is also a great choice for fans of the stars. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.