Night and the City and the Guardian

Guardian film editor Andrew Pulver, the author of the BFI Film Classics monograph on Jules Dassin’s Night and the City, has distilled his appreciation of the film into a column for the paper. “It’s the title that gets you first—so elemental and sinewy,” he begins. “In four short words it yokes together two key 20th-century fetishes: the black swamp of the night (with the moral terrors it summons up) and the concretized urban jungle that has taken on a brutal life of its own.” Pulver goes on to discuss the Gerald Kersh novel on which the film was based, a “high-minded pulp thriller”; the protagonist, Harry Fabian, as “arguably the most finely drawn sharp-suited hoodlum of inter-war England” and as a “potent” Jewish icon; and Fabian’s real-life counterparts, street toughs who ran London’s West End in the thirties and forties. You can read the keenly written piece on the Guardian’s website.

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