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Du rififi chez les hommes (France, 1955); Night and the City (UK/U.S., 1950)

Night and the City (1950)
July 26, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Du rififi chez les hommes a.k.a. Rififi (France, 1955)

"This is perhaps the keenest crime film that ever came from France." -- New York Times

Directed by Jules Dassin. 

For his first effort as an exile, Jules Dassin won the prize for best director at the Cannes Film Festival.  Rififi was originally assigned to director Jean-Pierre Melville, who would later pay homage to the film’s celebrated 33-minute silent robbery sequence in Le Cercle Rouge (1970).  In the loyalty and respect that unites the film’s band of thieves, Dassin—who also co-stars—found expression for his feelings towards the blacklisted community.

Indusfilm, La Société Nouvelle Pathé-Cinéma, Prima Film. Producer: Henri Bérard, Pierre Cabaud. Based on a novel by Auguste Le Breton. Screenwriter: Jules Dassin, René Wheeler, Auguste Le Breton. Cinematographer: Philippe Agostini. Editor: Roger Dwyre. Cast: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey, Pierre Grasset

35mm, b/w, in French with English subtitles, 122 min. 

Night and the City (UK/U.S., 1950)

"By any standard, Night and the City ranks with the best noirs ever made." -- TCM

Directed by Jules Dassin.

Often considered the quintessential film noir, Night and the City’s “man-on-the-run” narrative and dark mood resonate with the atmosphere of HUAC-era Hollywood.  Director Jules Dassin uses London’s Blitz-scarred cityscape to accentuate the film’s fatalism.  Without Dassin’s knowledge, Twentieth Century-Fox released different versions in the U.S. and the UK, the latter including retakes emphasizing Gene Tierney’s role and replacing Franz Waxman’s score with one by the British composer Benjamin Frankel.

Twentieth Century Productions, Ltd. Producer: Samuel G. Engel. Based on the novel by Gerald Kersh. Screenwriter: Jo Eisinger. Cinematographer: Max Greene. Editor: Sidney Stone. Cast: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, Francis L. Sullivan.

35mm, b/w, 96 min.