NIGHT AND THE CITY, a character study of lawyer and boxing promoter Harry Fabian, fails in part because of excessive obscene language and somewhat languid pace. Fabian is a frenetic, wired character and longtime ambulance-chasing lawyer who conceives the big-time scheme to promote “The Return of People’s Boxing” with a night of fights featuring sharp locals. However, Fabian’s timeworn methods involve scamming and getting on the wrong side of people bigger than he is, such as boxing promoter Boom Boom Grossman. Of course, in the end, his deceitfulness with everyone concerned catches up with him.
Much less of this film takes place at night than the 1950 original, which was set in London with Richard Widmark playing Harry Fabian. The camerawork can be commended, as the camera pokes its all-telling eye into the seamy, underside of New York and captures every grimy detail along with its lower-life people. Also, the closing tune, “The Great Pretender,” sung with Harry in mind, turns out to be quite fitting. If it were not for the extremely offensive language and slow pacing, NIGHT AND THE CITY would be more palatable.
(LLL, VV, SS, M) Roughly 100 obscenities & numerous profanities; violence in fight episodes and shooting with intent to kill; adultery implied, but not shown (no nudity, however); and, revenge & crooked rackets.