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A Tribute to Jules Dassin


May 15th - 17th

A Tribute to Jules Dassin

Friday, May 15 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

THE NAKED CITY, 1948, Mark Hellinger Productions, 96 min. Dir. Jules Dassin. A landmark crime movie, producer Mark Hellinger's hardboiled tribute to his beloved Big Apple peels away all the stylistic melodramatics of noir to present Hollywood's first true policier. The scrupulously researched script by Malvin Wald and vivid location photography by William Daniels (an Oscar winner) combined to make this one of the most influential Hollywood films of the 1940s. With Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Don Taylor, Dorothy Hart and a very scary Ted de Corsia.

NEVER ON SUNDAY, 1960, MGM Repertory, 97 min. Dir. Jules Dassin. The formerly blacklisted expatriate also wrote, produced and starred as Homer Thrace, the philosophizing Connecticut. Yankee who finds himself in the court of the Greek siren, the ancients here embodied in the shapely form of prostitute Ilya, played by Melina Mercouri. Her vivacious performance as a headstrong Galatea who remains undaunted by the local males won her Best Actress at Cannes. She and Dassin would later marry. With Giorgos Foundas, gorgeous Greek locales and an Oscar-winning title song by Manos Hadjidakis.

Saturday, May 16 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

RIFIFI, 1955, Rialto Pictures, 122 min. Dir. Jules Dassin. Back from the pen, tough guy Jean Servais rejoins his cronies and freshly imported safecracker César the Milanese (Dassin himself, billed as Perlo Vita) for a little jewel store smash-and-grab job -- but Servais wants the whole works! The central heist is an edge-of-your-seat 30-minute sequence without dialogue or music, so detailed that it provided a feasible blueprint for real-life pros. "A vivid exercise that more or less invented the idea of French Film Noir... For the French, RIFIFI had Hollywood pizzazz; for Americans, it had continental sophistication. For both, it seemed to possess an authoritative naturalism." – J. Hoberman; "The best film noir I have ever seen. A marvel of skill and inventiveness." – François Truffaut

TOPKAPI, 1964, MGM Repertory, 119 min. Dir. Jules Dassin. Melina Mercouri and lover Maximilian Schell, backed by a hand-picked team, find their carefully laid plans to heist emeralds from the Topkapi museum in Istanbul laid low by the bumblings of hanger-on Peter Ustinov -- in an Oscar-winning performance (Supporting Actor) -- then decide to go ahead anyway. Pioneer of the heist genre Dassin keeps his tongue firmly in cheek but the suspense taut in this adaptation from intrigue titan Eric Ambler. The high-tech heist has been appropriated by everything from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE to WALLACE & GROMIT! "As playful and lighthearted as Dassin's RIFIFI is stark and somber, TOPKAPI demonstrates that the director could make a heist picture in any manner he chose."– Time Out New York; "Remains unsurpassed for breathless suspense in its depiction of the jewel heist to end all jewel heists." – Terrence McNally, The New York Times

Sunday, May 17 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

NIGHT AND THE CITY, 1950, 20th Century Fox, 96 min. Dir. Jules Dassin. A stunning print of the most baroque and bleak film noir of them all. The greatness of this film -- besides Richard Widmark's devastating portrayal of the maniacal, pathetic con man and small-time promoter Harry Fabian -- is its stubborn refusal to allow even the tiniest ray of light into Harry's headlong descent into hell. Featuring an unforgettable supporting rogue's gallery, including Googie Withers, Herbert Lom, Francis L. Sullivan, Mike Mazurki, Stanislaus Zbyszko -- and the gorgeous Gene Tierney (LAURA) as Widmark’s heartbroken sweetheart.. With a screenplay by Jo Eisinger from the novel by Gerald Kersh. Trailer THIEVES’ HIGHWAY, 1949, 20th Century Fox, 94 min. Tough-as-nails Richard Conte returns from the war to find his trucker-father crippled by a shady "accident" and heads for San Francisco to take his revenge on corrupt produce broker Lee J. Cobb. Complicating matters even more, he must choose between cool blonde WASP Barbara Lawrence and earthy European refugee Valentina Cortese. Director Jules Dassin’s leftist leanings (which would lead to his ouster from Hollywood) found their most subtle outlet in this fabulous noir, written by A.I. Bezzerides (ON DANGEROUS GROUND, KISS ME DEADLY).