The second film on tonight's double bill in UCLA's Hollywood Exiles in Europe series was NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950).
NIGHT AND THE CITY, like the evening's earlier film RIFIFI (1955), was directed by Jules Dassin.
The movie was shot in London by Max Greene, and the gleaming black and white cinematography of that postwar city is, in my opinion, the film's greatest attribute. Visually this film is a real winner, and the 35mm print shown by UCLA was absolutely gorgeous. This is a film which those who love London as I do should see at least once, just to take in the fantastic visuals.
Part of the movie's problem is that, unlike RIFIFI, the viewer doesn't feel any sense of sympathy for the lead character. Like most of the people who know him, this viewer just thought "What a loser!" I didn't care and wasn't really interested in anything he did, especially as much of the film has to do with boxing. The boxing scenes include a "to the death" match between characters played by Mike Mazurki and Stanislaus Zbyszko which I didn't care to watch.
Hugh Marlowe's artist character receives even more short shrift, appearing in two scenes; his main purpose seems to be so the audience won't worry about what's going to happen to Gene Tierney. Like Widmark and Tierney, Marlowe plays yet another American living in London without any explanation. Had the men remained there after wartime service?
Standouts among the supporting cast are Googie Withers as the mercenary wife of a corpulent nightclub owner (Francis L. Sullivan), and Herbert Lom as Kristo, a fight promoter who ultimately goes after Harry, who enticed Kristo's father into a fight.
Jo Eisinger's screenplay was based on a novel by Gerald Kersh. It runs 96 minutes.
NIGHT AND THE CITY is available on DVD from the Criterion Collection. It's available for DVD rental from Netflix and ClassicFlix.
It's also out on VHS.