Actor Richard Widmark died last Monday. He played Harry Fabian in one of my favorite films, "Night and the City."

Director Jules Dassin died this Monday. He directed "Night and the City."

So I thought I’d post a little something about "Night and the City."

This movie was a sort of Holy Grail for me, a film noir about professional wrestling. When I really started getting into film noir (back in 1998) it was the one important noir I could never manage to see. It was never on Turner Classic Movies. If they showed it on Fox Movie Channel, I only managed to catch part of it. They showed it at a festival up in Evanston, but it was playing on a night when I had a play opening (I seriously considered blowing off the play). Finally, it came out on DVD (from Criterion, no less) in February of 2005. I took the bus downtown to the Virgin Store in a blizzard to pick it up (they were the only ones who seemed to get it in). I also picked up Dassin’s "Thieves Highway," another noir that came out on Criterion DVD that fateful day.

The movie blew me away! "Night and the City" is a great story of a man staying one step ahead of sinister forces for as long as he can. Harry Fabian gets more and more and more frantic as things spiral out of his control. And it has wrestlers as wrestler (Wrestlers that can actually act). I know Widmark’s breakthrough as Tommy Udo in "Kiss of Death" is the character he’ll always be remembered for (and he is awesome), but I think Harry Fabian was his best performance.

As a side note, Jules Dassin also directed "Rififi," which would also be on my list of the ten best film noirs ever.

A Few Jules Dassin Films to Check Out:
Night and the City
Rififi
Thieves Highway
Brute Force
The Naked City
Never on Sunday
Topkapi

And A Couple Richard Widmark Films to Check Out:
Night and the City
Kiss of Death
Pickup on South Street
No Way Out

I’ve left out quite a few. These are just the ones that come to mind at 1:46 in the morning.

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