Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.
Harry Fabian is a London hustler with ambitious plans that never work out. One day, when he encounters the most famous Greco-Roman wrestler in the world, Gregorius, at a London wrestling arena run by his son Kristo, he dreams up a scheme that he thinks will finally be his ticket to financial independence. As Fabian attempts to con everyone around him to get his scheme to work, he of course only ends up conning himself. This is an interesting tale of blind ambition, self-deception, broken dreams, and how a man who always thinks he's ahead of the game ends up tripping himself very badly.Written by
Alan Katz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In one of Harry's trips to London at night, a theatre advertises the play, "The Third Visitor". This play would be made into a film the year after this film was released, The Third Visitor (1951). See more »
As Harry is being chased through the streets of London at night,
he runs down a set of stairs, then turns and runs down a lit street.
In the foreground the cameraman and director's shadows are clearly outlined
against the street. See more »
My favorite Richard Widmark performance on the screen and probably his best work is Night and the City. This was director Jules Dassin's last film before settling in Europe in the wake of the blacklist and it has a first rate cast tuned to a fine pitch, like an orchestra without a bad note in it.
Harry Fabian is this smalltime American hustler/conman who's settled in London and always working that middle ground netherworld between the law and outright gangsterism. He really isn't a very likable man and the trick is to keep the audience care what's happening to him. This is the test of a great actor and Widmark is fully up to the challenge.
Fabian while working one of his cons overhears a piece of information about the father/son relationship between champion Graeco-Roman wrestler Gregorius the Great and gangster/promoter Cristo who is the London version of Vince McMahon. He cons Gregorius into thinking he wants to promote old style wrestling like Gregorius used to do. That con game sets in motion the events of the film that ultimately end in tragedy.
The cast is uniformly fine, but one performance really stands out, that of Stanislaus Zbyzsko as Gregorius. He was a real professional wrestling champion back in the day when it was real. Zbyzsko invests so much of his own life and reality as Gregorius that he's really something special. His scenes with Herbert Lom as his son are so good they go far beyond the plane of mere acting. It's some of the best work Lom has ever done as well.
How there weren't a few Oscar nominations from this is a mystery for me. For those who like film noir, this should be required viewing. Especially for you Richard Widmark fans.
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