Night and the City

I went out to work and left my shift feeling very tired.  I stopped at CVS to see what Halloween merchandise they had left.  I bought a Snoopy candy dish and went home.  After watching some Portlandia and Supergirl, I watched “Night and the City,” directed by Jules Dassin and starring Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney.  I keep thinking as I watched that Widmark was a very good actor.  He was younger and had a lot more energy in this movie than I remember from him on television years later.  His character Harry Fabian definitely brought to mind Harry Lime from “The Third Man.”  He’s so desperate to hit it big with his schemes that he loses the point of what life is.  Gene Tierney is the love interest, Mary Bristol.  She has a great presence on the screen, and it was a shame that she lived with depression.  I kept looking at her hairstyle, thinking it should have been different.  It’s too bad that she didn’t get more time on the screen in this film.  The story takes place in London.  One of the few things I noticed about the city was the marquee with Ida Lupino’s name on it.  Harry goes into the wrestling racket, and his plans to finance his plan are flimsy.  I think everyone watching knows that it’s somehow all going to fall apart.  The winners in the game aren’t guys like Harry.  It was interesting to see a young Herbert Lom in the cast.  It’s a serious role, and he’s a threatening figure who looked like he came from a Godfather movie, but I couldn’t stop thinking about his part in the Pink Panther movies.  A couple of the other characters reminded me of Sydney Greenstreet and Lawrence Tierney.  The cut that I watched was known as the British version, which ran a bit longer than the American version.  I liked the scenes with Gene Tierney, and that last wrestling scene.  The ending wasn’t quite perfect, but overall I thought this was a very good film.  Dassin apparently didn’t read the novel that was the source material until after he finished the movie, but that might have been a good thing.  Gene Tierney died twenty-five years ago last Sunday, so I thought about her life with its tragedy.  One of her pregnancies was affected by a foolish fan who broke quarantine.  I thought about watching one of her interviews from 1979, but it ran a bit long, and I didn’t want to get away from the work I was supposed to do.  By 1950, a lot of her best roles, in “Laura,” “Leave Her to Heaven,” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” were behind her.  In the years from 1953 to 1957, her mental state worsened.  Jules Dassin went on to direct “Rififi,” which is something of a classic.  I like his films.  He apparently hadn’t seen “The Asphalt Jungle” when he made “Night and the City,” so it shouldn’t be considered one of the influences on his work.  If I had more energy and time, I should have seen the American version of the film, because Dassin reportedly preferred it over the British version.  I’m not sure it’s worth the effort to pick over the differences between the cuts.  I watch movies like this for the stars.  This is something that I would have liked watching during the late show during the 1970s.  Some of the people who died on November 8 include Doc Holliday (1887), Anton Rubinstein (1894), Norman Rockwell (1978), Michael O’Donoghue (1994), and Bil Keane (2011).  Today is a birthday for Masashi Kishimoto (42), Parker Posey (48), Leif Garrett (55), Alfre Woodard (64), Mary Hart (66), and Alain Delon (81).

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