Search - Night and the City - Criterion Collection on DVD

Night and the City - Criterion Collection
Night and the City - Criterion Collection
Actors: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, Francis L. Sullivan
Director: Jules Dassin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2005     1hr 36min

Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler Gregoriu...  more »


Larger Image

Movie Details

Actors: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, Francis L. Sullivan
Director: Jules Dassin
Creators: Mutz Greenbaum, Darryl F. Zanuck, Samuel G. Engel, Austin Dempster, Gerald Kersh, Jo Eisinger, William E. Watts
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/01/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/1950
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1950
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 25
Edition: Special Edition,Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

Similar Movies

Naked City
Director: Jules Dassin
   UR   1999   1hr 36min
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Fox Film Noir
Director: Otto Preminger
   NR   2005   1hr 35min
Criss Cross
Universal Noir Collection
Director: Robert Siodmak
   NR   2004   1hr 28min

Movie Reviews

Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 02/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) always seems to be running. From thugs, backfired schemes, rip-offs, etc. In London, he hits upon a surefire get-rich-quick scheme: to promote a one-time famous wrestler, Gregorius (Stanilaus Zbyszko), in direct opposition to the current wrestling kingpin Kristo (a young Herbert Lom), Greogorius' son. But, as always, money is the problem. He finds backing from an oily night club owner's wife (Googie Withers) who has big plans of her own. But the night club owner Nosserus (Francis L.Sullivan) is on to Fabian's scheme and the double-cross has disastrous results as Fabian tries to keep the gig going at all costs. Jules Dassin created a small masterpiece with this 1950 film noir and Criterion has done it justice on the disc with fine extras and a good print. The film boasts an excellent British/American cast and a great score by Franz Waxman. Widmark is dynamic as Fabian and Gene Tierney is good as Mary, his long suffering girlfriend who works in Nosserus' club, The Silver Fox. But the best female role is Withers as Helen, who reveals a ruthlessness that surpasses even Fabian's wild schemes. "Night and the City" pulls no punches in showing what happens to some people who stop at nothing to get what they want at the expense of others...and how big dreams can turn into nightmares. Highly recommended."
American/British Hybrid with Wonderful Noir Style.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 03/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Night and the City" was director Jules Dessin's last film before falling victim to the Hollywood Blacklist for 5 years. Shot in London and based on the novel by Gerald Kersh, it's a film noir great, but not strictly an American film. Screenwriter Jo Eisinger radically altered Kersh's novel. And there are two versions of the film: one exclusively for English consumption and this American version, into which director Jules Dessin had more input and which was also released to international markets. The English version is longer and features an entirely different score. But this is the shorter, tighter, more cynical American version of "Night and the City".

"Night and the City" takes place among the hustlers, club owners, and purveyors of evening entertainment in London. Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) works as a club tout for The Silver Fox nightclub, targeting monied guests at local hot spots, cozying up to them with tall tales, and sending them over to the club for a good time. But Harry's always got scheme to get rich, as opposed to a plan of how to make a living, much to his girlfriend Mary's (Gene Tierney) chagrin. Harry's "highly inflamed imagination, coupled by delusions of grandeur" -as his employer bluntly remarks- never get him anywhere but into debt. One night Harry overhears a conversation between a old Greco-Roman wrestling champion, Gregorius (Stanislaus Zbyszko), and his son Kristo (Herbert Lom), the promoter for all London's wrestling matches. Harry sees the opportunity to exploit the elder man's distaste for the new flamboyant style of wrestling to set himself up as a promoter of old-style Greco-Roman wrestling. Gregorius agrees to work with him, and, although Kristo has a monopoly on wrestling in London, he is forced to allow Harry to proceed. But Harry must raise the cash to promote his first match. His employer, Phil Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan) agrees to put up half of the money if Harry can match it. Harry can only do that by taking money from Nosseross' scheming wife, Helen (Googie Withers), in exchange for illegally obtaining a nightclub license for her. But Phil actually wants Harry ruined and cooperates with Kristo to see that he doesn't succeed.

The plot is convoluted. Harry goes through so many contortions to make himself into a wrestling promoter, it's a wonder he can keep his own scheme straight. Richard Widmark plays Harry beautifully. He's a loser and a heel, but he's surrounded by more predatory creatures than himself. Harry is so self-absorbed that he's blind to the vengeance he has inspired -and, of course, to the very patient woman who loves him. "All my life I've been running," he says. And that's what Harry does for all of this film, figuratively and literally. Other notable performances are Francis L. Sullivan as Phil, a thoroughly greedy man who is not so foolish as Harry, and Stanislaus Zbyszko as the naive but imposing Gregorius. Zbyszko is not a professional actor. He was a wrestling champion and international celebrity in his younger years -and I understand a very cultured man.

Max Greene's cinematography is classic film noir. Most of "Night and the City" takes place at night. It was filmed on location in London's dark, wet streets, which lend themselves perfectly to high contrast lighting and deep focus. I don't think I've ever seen as much close-up wide-angle photography as in this film. Greene brazenly distorts his characters, to a more noticeable extent than in most film noir. "Night and the City" is in some ways an oddity of the film noir style, because it takes place in Europe, was scripted and filmed by Americans, based on a British novel, with a mixed cast whose nationalities are never explained. It's filmed in an American style, but it's not an American film. On the other hand, "Night and the City"'s obsessed, irredeemable characters, cynicism, and visual style are exemplary of film noir. The great performances and noir cinematography are a joy to watch.

The DVD (Criterion Collection 2005 release): This is a very nice package of bonus features, starting with an audio commentary by film scholar Glenn Erikson, who wrote the essay "Expressionist Doom in Night and the City" for the first Film Noir Reader book. In this informative and interesting commentary, Mr. Erikson gives nearly a scene-by-scene analysis of the film in which he discusses and compares 4 versions of the story: the novel, the shooting script, the American Film, and the English film, in terms of story, characters, and history. Other bonus features include a "Jules Dessin Interview" (17 minutes) in which the director talks about casting, shooting the final sequence with 6 cameras, making the movie without having read the book, and being blacklisted in Hollywood. "2 Versions, 2 Scores" (23 minutes) is a documentary knowledgeably narrated by Christopher Husted that compares the film scores of Franz Waxman (American version) and Benjamin Frankel (English version), as well as the two different edits of the film. (Both scores are available on a double CD from There is a 1972 "Ciné-Parade Interview" (25 minutes) with the director in which Dessin talks to a very curious French interviewer about his difficulties working under the studio system in Hollywood and being blacklisted in the early 1950s. The interview is in French with English subtitles. There is a theatrical trailer for "Night and the City" (2 minutes). Subtitles are available for the film in English, via your remote control "subtitle" button, but I couldn't find a "set-up" or "languages" menu."
Film Noir - London-style!
Cubist | United States | 02/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After being blacklisted in Hollywood during the McCarthy-era witch hunts, director Jules Dassin moved to London and made the classic film noir, Night and the City for 20th Century Fox. He presents a shadowy underworld where life is cheap and money is king. Its inhabitants consist of drunks, thieves and other desperate people scrambling to eke out some kind of existence.

There is an audio commentary by none other than the DVD Savant himself, Glenn Erickson, author of The Film Noir essay on Night and the City. Erickson touches upon the film's troubled production history and references the book, the film's script and both versions, including cut scenes. This is a very knowledgeable track as Erickson covers many aspects of the movie.

In the "Jules Dassin Interview," he talks about how the Hollywood blacklisting made his life difficult. The veteran director tells some fascinating anecdotes in this substantial extra.

"2 Versions, 2 Scores" examines the musical score for the British version by Benjamin Frankel and the American one by Franz Waxman. Waxman's score is more dynamic while Frankel's is not as melodramatic.

"Cine-Parade Interview" is a 1972 French interview with Dassin who talks about his life and career, including an amusing anecdote about shooting a scene with Joan Crawford.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer."
Great acting by Richard Widmark
M. Steffen | Story City, IA USA | 08/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'm surprised that Richard Widmark wasn't nominated as best actor for this movie after seeing the movie. What's wrong with the Academy, huh? Richard Widmark helped make the movie enjoyable to watch. I thought he was never going to run out of energy for his excellent performance. This movie reminds me of Tony Curtis in "Sweet Smell of Success" in comparison. The only difference is their profession."