When Harry stumbles upon his latest ploy: to directly the challenge the wrestling racket of a local Mafioso's by promoting/exploiting a notorious but elderly Greek fighter, a plan whose seamlessness naturally goes awry. When those around him immediately point the finger, the residents of Soho's seedy underground set out to take him down, forcing him to frantically pull yet another trick out of a steadily depleting hat. Co-starring Googie Withers, Herbert Lom and the deliciously mannered Francis L. Sullivan, Night and the City is an iconic example of noir at the peak of its powers, exemplifying its ability to be as strikingly beautiful (thanks to Max Greene's cinematography) as it is harsh and gritty. It tells a sprawling story against a hellish backdrop peopled by existential dread where nothing or no one is safe from an all-pervasive greed.
Unlike many films set in London that do nothing but pitch the action amongst established landmarks, Dassin travelled to the capital during pre-production to scout the dodgy inner circles of Soho that would go on to inspire his vivid representation. It wasn't until post-production that the film - for reasons never made public (even to Dassin) - was edited for both the British and the American markets, with each version (which are both available on this lovingly crafted release) encompassing different scores and longer or shorter scenes. No matter what cut you watch, the experience remains the same: a noir masterpiece that still has the ability to shock, amuse and ultimately enthral.