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.