Reviewed byDennis LittrellVote: 7/10/10
This is a remake of Night and the City (1950) directed by Jules Dissan,who was blacklisted by Hollywood because of actions by the HouseUn-American Activities Committee, and for that reason is dedicated toDissan who had to continue his career in Europe. The original filmstarred Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Francis L. Sullivan and HerbertLom. I haven't seen that film, but I understand that it is very good.
This film from 1992 is not bad; however for some reason its reputationisn't much. The voters at IMDb give it a rather tepid 5.7 stars out of10 while giving the original 8 out of 10. I'm not sure why, but I thinkit has to do with: (1) Robert De Niro playing a non-heroic character.It certainly doesn't have anything to do with his acting. He isoutstanding as Harry Fabian, flimflam low life lawyer and cheap BSartist who tries desperately to make a big splash as a fight promoter.I think most De Niro fans would prefer to see him in a more two-fistedrole. At any rate, those who didn't like the movie almost certainlydidn't care for De Niro's performance since his character dominates theaction.
(2) The ending, which some might see as unfinished and others asdisagreeable since, regardless of what transpires, Fabian is still aloser, perhaps bigger than ever.
(3) Some rather cheesy plot play. Near the end Fabian and Helen(Jessica Lange looking as fetching as ever) hide in a dead end alleyamong dumpsters and trash cans. Well, they should have continuedrunning since the guys after them were only walking. Also when Fabianand Helen run out the side door of the restaurant they go the wrong wayso that the heavies can see them running across the street. Had theyturned left instead of right (as anybody in their situation would havedone) they would not even have been seen. Furthermore, Fabian in aflamboyant gesture throws $12,000 into the air that flutters to theground in the dead end alley. Nobody bothers to pick it up. That couldhappen.
What cannot be faulted is the authentic New York atmosphere created bydirector Irvin Winkler, who is better know as a producer, most notablyof the Sylvester Stallone "Rocky" films, and the fine work by the restof the cast, especially Alan King (Ira "Boom Boom" Grossman), EliWallach (Peck), Cliff Gorman (Phil Nasseros), and Jack Warden (AlGrossman). The story itself, from a novel by Gerald Kersh (script byRichard Price), is a variation on the "lovable, colorful loser makesgood" theme, only in this case, like an inept noir anti-hero, he fallson his face--more than once, by the way.
No real De Niro fan should miss this. Personally I thought it was oneof his best performances. The rapid fire dialogue, the fawning,pathetic, yet somehow uplifting personality were not something mostactors could pull off, at least not nearly as well. De Niro became thecharacter he portrayed.
Bottom line: definitely worth seeing. You will not be bored.
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Reviewed bybkoganbingVote: 6/10/10
In his career Robert DeNiro has done four remakes of classic films ofwhich Night And The City is one of them. The other three are We're NoAngels, Cape Fear, and Frankenstein. In redoing parts made immortal byHumphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Boris Karloff, and in this caseRichard Widmark, DeNiro has wisely chosen not to imitate any of thesepeople, instead whatever you think of the final product, he's certainlyput out his own interpretation on these roles.
From the shadow world of the London underworld scene where Americanexpatriate Richard Widmark operated to the streets of New York in theNineties, the plot of Night And The City has essentially remained thesame except, and this is critical for the ending. DeNiro must haveloved the fact that his Tribeca Productions got to film in and aroundNew York, especially in Tribeca.
Widmark is a small time hood, DeNiro is a cheap shyster lawyer, thekind that lawyer jokes are made about. He hears them and he's obliviousto them. What he's not oblivious to is the success he sees around him.It's personified by Cliff Gorman who runs a successful bar where DeNirotells his war stories. It's also even more personified by Alan King whois a boxing promoter with some underworld connections. He's risen tothe top in a very tough racket.
DeNiro tries to enter King's world and buys King's reluctant acceptancewith using King's older brother Jack Warden who is a retired fighterliving in an old age home. If you remember what happens in the originalNight And The City, you pretty much know what is going to happen hereand for the most part it does.
The legal profession doesn't necessarily attract guys like DeNiro, he'sno Louis Brandeis, he's not about to publish articles in Harvard LawReview. But with him lying and conning is second nature, he does itlike he breathes. Even Jessica Lange who is Gorman's wife and whoDeNiro is carrying on with, he lies to her and worse because he needsmoney. He'd do all this if he wasn't a lawyer.
The cast is an incredibly select and good one of New Yorkers themselveswho can play these parts like second nature. Even Jessica Lange who isa native of Minnesota is New York enough for her part. One role I haveto call attention to is that of Margo Winkler. She has one scene as ajudge with lawyer DeNiro whom obviously she's dealt with before. Shethrows him and his put up accident case out of court in a reallyterrific way.
The film would rate a lot higher with me had the original ending fromJules Dassin's classic version been kept. It wasn't and it reallycheapens the impact of the film. Other than that this version of NightAnd The City is a good film with a great cast of players to perform it.
Reviewed bySpikeopathVote: 5/10/10
Night and the City is directed by Irwin Winkler and adapted toscreenplay by Richard Price from the novel written by Gerald Kersh. Itstars Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Cliff Gorman, Jack Warden, AlanKing, Eli Wallach and Barry Primus. Music is by James Newton Howard andcinematography by Tak Fujimoto.
Ambulance chasing lawyer Harry Fabian (De Niro) has grand designs to bea boxing promoter. Unfortunately this ruffles the feathers of a localpromoter who is not exactly known for his kindness...
It's often unfair to do down a remake of a classic film, with the ruleof thumb being we are asked to judge said remake on its own terms.However, Winkler's neo-noir remake of Jules Dassin's brilliant 1950film noir of the same name just lacks the edginess or urgency to make amark.
It's not down to performances of the cast or the tech production ingeneral, in fact De Niro, Warden and the under written Lange arewatchable, while Fujimoto's photography around the New York locationsis superlative. Yet the characters as written here, in the shift frompostwar London to a thrumming NYC, have no psychological pangs to drivethe picture forward.
Harry trudges from one slice of idiocy to another, with a big plotdevelopment making no sense, and all the time there's ill placed humourhanging over the plot to further compound the feeling we are watching adisjointed attempt at neo-noir nirvana. While the conclusion here isweak and kind of a cheat.
The makers dedicated the film to Dassin, that's a nice sentiment, butreally they should have honoured him by making a far better movie inthe spirit of the great director himself. 5/10
Robert DeNiro and Jessica Lange are the most impossible couple. He's a failed lawyer. She's a common waitress. Together they get in a downward spiral, as they can't seem to deal with their problems. The lawyer just failed winning a case in court against a famous boxing organizer and he wants revenge by catching the organizer on his own territory: boxing. Although he knows nothing about boxing, with his fine talk he finds the help of a couple of people like the brother of his new enemy. But the relationship with his waitress doesn't make things double as hard.