Stanislaus Zbyszko

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Night And The City Review


Essential
"The night is tonight. The city is London," says the narrator, and you couldn't really ask for a better beginning. Like many a film noir, Night and the City opens on, yes, nighttime in the big city, and a man is being chased by dangerous persons unknown. There are sharp suits and swindlers, crooks and corruption, indeed, but this is far from your standard issue noir, with little in the way of a hero and far too much of a sense of a humor - all of which is just part of what makes this film as engrossing as it is.

The man being chased is Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark), a scam artist who hides out in the apartment of his girlfriend, Mary Bristol (a radiant Gene Tierney), either hoping to wait out the guy waiting for him downstairs or get Mary to pay him off. It takes a little while for the film to really settle into the scheme of Harry's that takes everything to its tragic denouement, but that's no problem, as Harry's night-to-night is entertainment enough. Semi-employed as a tout for the Soho club that Mary dances at, Harry spends nights luring tourists and other suckers into the club, and when not doing that, scours the city's underworld plotting the one killer idea to put him on easy street.

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