Night And The City
the second time i’ve seen this film this week; watched with the commentary this time. the commentary looks mostly at the differences between the several stages/permutations of the story – the book, the shooting script, the british version and the american version. as is the usual with criterion commentaries, this one was well-researched, thorough, informative and never felt dry. the film is my favorite of dassin’s in large part because of widmark’s performance. the commentator reads widmark’s character as a bottom-feeding social parasite, but i view him more as a manifestation of a failed society. i also think that widmark, though despicable, is a sympathetic character if not for the simple reason that he’s good at what he does – even if it is lying, cheating and stealing. in a lot of ways gregorious the great is the central, tragic figure of the film. he represents the purity of art and dies literally fighting for his cause. one of the more interesting elements was the use of diegetic music in one scene in the film. widmark and sullivan are discussing widmark’s recent ascension in the wrestling world. widmark is giddy and is beating on the drums located in sullivan’s club. sullivan tears widmark down stating that it appears as though widmark has everything in place, but that it’s all going to fall apart because he (sullivan) isn’t going to bankroll widmark anymore. he concludes this news by hitting a cymbal on the drum set which widmark was just playing. i’ve found that noir employs the use of source music quite a bit, but i’ve never seen it done quite like that. it feeds my theory that noir characters are pawns in a game they have no control over, but know they are in. sullivan knows he’s dealt a deadly blow to widmark and accentuates that fact with a cymbal crash. at another juncture in the film sullivan’s wife leaves him and he knows she’ll come crawling back and says “you’ll come back and i’ll want to take you back.” as if he knows he shouldn’t, but knows that he’ll have to because he needs her despite his better judgment.