Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fox Noir

This month the Siskel Film center in Chicago is running newly restored prints of many of the film noir classics from the Fox library. I saw Night and the City last weekend and it was great to see it on the big screen. The movie is about a down and out hustler in London trying to make one last grab for the brass ring by horning in on the wrestling promotion racket.

Richard Widmark was great, as usual, playing the frantic loser who won't face the fact that he'll never be a big shot, but the real highlight of the movie for me was the grudge match between the old master wrestler, Gregorius and the reigning king of the ring, The Strangler. Gregorius was played by Stanislaus Zbyszko, a real old time wrestler who was 71 when the movie was filmed. The scene was very visceral, filmed in what felt like real time with tight camera shots, long cuts and no music or sound effects.

It was a great film overall. I love the way that old movies were able to throw in some humor without losing the sense of peril or emotional intesity.

Hopefully, I can go and see some of the other movies before month is out.

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