Night and the City

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Another movie directed by that blacklisted ex-Commie, Jules Dassin. It's set in filthy 1950 London. Specifically, in the filthiest parts of town, among the denizens of the semi-underworld: gamblers, black marketeers, forgers, barflies, hookers (thinly-disguised as appropriate for a 1950 movie).

And then there's Harry Fabian, played by frenetic Richard Widmark. He works as a tout, on commission for one of those dens of iniquity, the "Silver Fox Club", bringing in high-rolling tourists to be fleeced. He has a saintly girlfriend, Mary (Gene Tierney, in a far different role that the last movie we saw her in.) And he has big, big plans. He wants badly to "be somebody". But, as Lily Tomlin could have told him, he should have been more specific.

The scheme he latches onto involves breaking into the wrestling promotion business. He erects a complex house of cards to finance his effort, involving the Silver Fox's fat owner, his unfaithful wife, an aged Graeco-Roman wrestler, the wrestler's mobster son, various others on society's edge.

Herbert Lom plays the mobster son. Man, nobody did dead eyes like Herbert Lom. I think Al Pacino studied Herbert Lom's performance here for Godfather II.

Last Modified 2022-10-16 9:42 AM EDT

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Christmas 2020

Pun Salad will try to stick to a theme today…

  • … starting off with Michael Ramirez.

    [Merry Christmas, Kids]

    So, Merry Christmas to y'all. Especially you young'uns.

  • Another heartwarming Christmas story from China, as noted by Walter Russell Mead at the WSJ: Beijing’s Collision With Christians.

    In October, National Review’s Cameron Hilditch pointed to a Xinhua News Agency report that the Communist Party has decided to produce a state-approved Bible. Mr. Hilditch reports that one change is to the New Testament story in which Jesus spares a woman taken in adultery from stoning by telling her accusers not to cast the first stone unless they are sinless. In the new, improved version, when the accusers have left, Jesus stones the woman himself, saying, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.”

    If you need reminding on the story Wikipedia has you more than covered. (They reference the China story, and relays: "The publisher claims that this was an inauthentic, unauthorized publication of its textbook."

  • The jokers at Reason produced another fine video: White House Christmas Ornaments.

  • And finally, P. J. O'Rourke provides updated lyrics to your holiday favorites: Baby, It's COVID Outside. For example…

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    Had a very runny nose
    And anyone who saw it
    Knew he had a viral dose

    All of the other reindeer
    Used hoof sanitizer to prevent
    Rudolph from getting near them
    Even at a Trump event

    Then one foggy Christmas Eve
    Santa told them all
    “Can’t social distance with my sleigh
    Christmas is locked down anyway.”

    Then how the reindeer shunned him
    As they began to rant and spew
    “Rudolph the Runny-Nosed Reindeer
    We’re eating you for Christmas stew”

    It's funny because it could be true.