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Night And The City Blu-ray Review

Night and the City Blu-ray

“Night and the City” is film noir at its best.

In “Night and the City,” the story revolves around a London based small time thief (Harry) who wants “to be somebody.” Despite having grand plans, Harry is constantly living life on the edge much to the displeasure of his love interest (Mary). After making an appearance at a wrestling event, Harry gets the bright idea of becoming a wrestling promoter when he sees an ex Greek wrestler (Gregorius) snubbing his son Kristo (who essentially controls the local wrestling game). Deciding to represent Gregorius and young wrestler Nikolas, Harry hopes to cut into Kristo’s business with the help of his employer’s (Phil) scheming wife (Helen). As dedicated and driven as Harry is, however, his plan soon rubs people the wrong way. Is Harry doomed or can he make his immoral dreams come true?

Expertly written by Jo Eisinger and superbly directed by Jules Dassin, “Night and the City” is a classic film noir that doesn’t get the attention it fully deserves. Before anti-heroes became as embraced as they are now, “Night and the City” really played up this idea by having a film full of characters in the criminal underworld. There are very few moral and good characters in this film, and yet, you never lose interest in anything that happens on screen. As ugly as the lifestyle of characters like Harry and Helen may be, you still manage to sympathize with their doomed and even tragic circumstances.

More than that, however, “Night and the City” is just an intense crime story. It moves at a breakneck pace and includes some truly riveting action moments such as the incredibly well choreographed wrestling piece with Gregorius and the climactic chase sequence.

Acting wise, Richard Widmark (Harry) and Stanislaus Zbyszko (Gregorius) give the film’s best performances. Widmark, who was a staple of the film noir genre in the 40’s and 50’s, really sells the character of Harry while Zbyszko truly impresses as the ex wrestler. Not only is his main set piece incredible for the time period, but his final scene is entirely convincing for someone who acted very little in his career.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? While a bit fuzzy in spots, this 4K digital restoration is beautiful. There’s no question that this B&W print looks better than it ever has.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? It’s livelier than the average Mono track (which is a compliment).

Extras:
* A fold out poster/booklet that features an essay by film critic Paul Arthur.
* The slightly longer British version of “Night and the City.”
* A 2004 interview with director Jules Dassin.
* A “Night and the City” trailer.
* An excerpt from the French TV series “L’invite du dimanche” in which Jules Dassin is interviewed.
* “Two Versions, Two Scores”- A 24 minute documentary in which film music scholar Christopher Husted compares the two versions of “Night and the City” and discusses the background about why there are 2 versions.
* A stiff but informative scripted 2004 commentary by author Glenn Erickson.

Overall Thoughts: “Night and the City” is a must see film noir.

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July 22, 2015 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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