***½/**** Image A Sound A Extras A-
starring Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe
screenplay by Jo Eisinger, based on the novel by Gerald Kersh
directed by Jules Dassin
by Bryant Frazer SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Richard Widmark is hungry. There's no better way to describe it. As Night and the City opens, he's scampering, lean and lithe, through darkened London, avoiding a barely-seen pursuer like a cat trying to make it home with dinner jammed between its jaws. I'm not sure anyone in movie history runs as well as Widmark runs in this film, pulling Donald O'Connor-esque twists and turns that send his limbs flailing about in silhouette, and then ducking around a corner and pressing himself flat against the wall, as though wishing he could disappear into the bricks themselves. He's got beady eyes that suggest venality and a face that stretches taut over high cheekbones, light and shadow throwing the contours of his skull into sharp relief. As Harry Fabian, an overconfident con artist with a small-time hustle who's always imagining angles on a big score, Widmark is worse than a loser--he's a dead man walking. You'd be a fool to trust a man like that, and yet someone always does.