03 April 2008

That's what I do to your clowns

Last week, both blacklisted director Jules Dassin and the haunting star Richard Widmark passed away. The two teamed up in the amazing Night and the City in 1950.

Widmark is the scrappy guy in the suit who gets tossed out of the ring second. (I don't know why the "bear hug" is the go-to move, but it was an earlier time, an era before the rolling armbar and rear naked choke were televised on a daily basis.) The whole of the movie is uploaded on YouTube, if you've got the time and interest.

You can also check out Widmark opposite a young Sidney Poitier in the early anti-racist film No Way Out. According to one obituary, Widmark, playing a rabid bigot in the movie, apologized to Poitier after every take for the things his character said.

Now, let's see Widmark being a little more charming and a little less creepy than his usual on-screen persona.


Anonymous said...

Dassin's Brute Force (screenplay by Albert Maltz, later one of the Hollywood Ten) is amazing: a Stalinist parable in the form of a prison break movie, with a fatalist noir ending to bring it back within Hollywood narrative conventions. It isn't a good movie--in fact it's a terrible movie--but it's definitely worth seeing. (This prison apparently has only one Black inmate, a West Indian known as Calypso who, while mopping the floors--his prison job-- sings all his dialogue in rhymed couplets. No, I'm not making it up, my imagination isn't nearly that creative.)

BusterPh.D.Candidate said...

I am unsure whether this is a character flaw of mine, but your description makes me think, "I have to see that!"

But Calypso. Really? They couldn't do any better than that?

kg said...

How appropriate that you should be in Russia when you learn this. You saw the mention of the son Joseph who died in 1980 (of leukemia, I believe?) People here went nuts over his music in the 70s, he received acclaim and popular love that far exceeded anything he knew in France (so I'm told). I still hear his tunes out and about. AND it's a sign of his "quality" that his song Champs d'Elysses was the closing credits one on The Darjeeling Limited... (Whatever else one may think of him, Anderson has fab soundtracks).
Incidentally, Joe Dassin was also a University of Michigan alum :).

Anonymous said...

Definitely a character flaw, but one we share.