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ERA New Horizons IFF


9th Edition of the ERA New Horizons International Film Festival, to be held in Wroclaw, Poland from 23 July to 2 August.


A Neglected Film Noir Masterpiece Chosen By Pedro Almodovar

  by  Sandy Mandelberger, Online Dailies Editor 

“Night And The City” (1950) is a neglected film noir masterpiece by the American-born director Jules Dassin. The film, a cult favorite among cinephiles but largely unknown by the public, has taken on renewed currency as the inspiration for “Broken Embraces”, the latest film from Spanish superstar director Pedro Almodóvar, which screened at the ERA New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. Almodovar himself chose the classic film to be shown at the Festival to illustrate his affection for film noir and the inspiration this particular film gave him for his latest project. 


 “Night And The City”  is a film noir based on the novel by Gerald Kersh, starring Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney. Shot on location in London, the plot revolves around Harry Fabian (Widmark), a petty criminal who is always on the lookout for a quick fortune. Harry believes he has stumbled upon the chance of a lifetime. He plans to take control of the professional wrestling game from underworld boss Kristo (Herbert Lom) by manipulating him through his father, the retired wrestling superstar Gregorius The Great (played by the Polish wrestler Stanisław Cygankiewicz). Harry’s plan cannot lose……until it does. 

For Jules Dassin, “Night And The City” was the first film made after his departure from the United States, after being forced to leave because of the anti-communist hysteria of the late 1940s. Dassin remained in Europe for the rest of his life, making such films as “Raffifi” (1955), which won a Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival and “Topkapi” (1964), a heist film set in Istanbul starring Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, Peter Ustinov, and Robert Morley.

He was married for many years to the Greek actress Melina Mercouri, who he cast as the prostitute with a heart of gold in “Never On Sunday” (1960), a role which won her a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1992, “Night And The City” was re-made by producer/director Irwin Winkler with stars Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange, but  it was not a big success. Find the original, if you can, on DVD and savor a neglected masterpiece!!


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