Jules Dassin

  • Jules Dassin – Brute Force (1947)

    Jules Dassin1941-1950250 Quintessential Film NoirsCrimeFilm NoirUSA
    Brute Force (1947)
    Brute Force (1947)

    PLOT: At overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where violence and fear are the norm and the warden has less power than guards and leading prisoners, the least contented prisoner is tough, single-minded Joe Collins. Most of all, Joe hates chief guard Captain Munsey, a petty dictator who glories in absolute power. After one infraction too many, Joe and his cell-mates are put on the dreaded drain pipe detail; prompting an escape scheme that has every chance of turning into a bloodbath.Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Nazi Agent (1942)

    1941-1950CrimeDramaJules DassinUSA

    Humble stamp dealer Otto Becker has little to do with international politics, so when he receives a surprise visit from his estranged twin brother and Nazi spy, Baron Hugo Von Detner, his world is thrown into turmoil. Threatening Becker with deportation, Hugo forces him to use his shop as a front for espionage. But when Becker’s friend Professor Sterling turns up dead, Becker accidentally shoots his brother and assumes his identity.Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Up Tight! (1968)

    1961-1970CrimeDramaJules DassinUSA

    “Uptight” is an updated remake of John Ford’s 1935 film, “The Informer”. Dublin becomes the Cleveland ghetto and the Irish Republicans are replaced by black revolutionary fighters. Days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Tank Williams (Julian Mayfield) is an unemployed and itinerant steelworker who turns over his militant friend, Johnny Wells (Max Julien) to the police for $1,000 reward, resulting in an underground all-points bulletin to exact vengeance on the squealer. Legendary director, Jules Dassin’s unrelenting directional pace is complemented by the driving score of Booker T. Jones. The stellar cast includes Raymond St. Jacques, Ruby Dee, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Frank Silvera.Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Brute Force (1947)

    1941-1950250 Quintessential Film NoirsCrimeFilm NoirJules DassinUSA

    William K Everson writes:
    Brute Force was touted as being by far the toughest and most violent prison film Hollywood had ever made. Many European censors felt the same way and scenes were shortened for overseas release. Actually, the violence is essentially surface violence, and earlier prison films had been rougher in a psychological sense. Nevertheless, with all of those noir icons in the cast and behind the camera (especially Miklos Rosza’s music) the film made a welcome break in the increasingly formularized cycle of big-city crime noir films. Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Kravgi gynaikon aka A Dream of Passion (1978)

    1971-1980ArthouseDramaGreeceJules Dassin

    The husband and wife team of director Jules Dassin and actress Melina Mercouri, who first enjoyed international success with the comedy Never on Sunday, collaborated for the last time on this powerful drama. Maya (Melina Mercouri) is a famous actress who is returning to the stage for a production of the classic Greek tragedy Medea, in which she will play the title character, a mother who murders her children. Kostas (Andreas Voutsinas), Maya’s former lover, will be directing Maya in the production, and when he discovers that Brenda (Ellen Burstyn), an American woman, is housed in a nearby Greek prison for killing her offspring, he suggests that Maya should meet Brenda as a means of better understanding her character. Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Reunion in France (1942)

    1941-1950ClassicsJules DassinUSAWar

    Frenchwoman Michele de la Becque, an opponent of the Nazis in German-occupied Paris, hides a downed American flyer, Pat Talbot, and attempts to get him safely out of the country.Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Brute Force [+Extras] (1947)

    1941-1950250 Quintessential Film NoirsCrimeFilm NoirJules DassinUSA


    The meanest, heaviest, most unrelentingly grim hunk of American cinema you’re likely to see– at least prior to 1950– Brute Force is an explosive hybrid mixing aspects of the string of stark prison melodramas that stretch back to the silent era, and the broodingly dark crime dramas that sprung up in the postwar 1940’s that we’ve since come to identify as Film Noir.

    One of my personal favorite ‘noir’s of all time, Brute Force features a young, highly flammable Burt Lancaster (in his second film role, his followup to Siodmak’s The Killers, another crime drama produced by Mark Hellinger) in the role of inmate Joe Collins, a part that seems to fit him like a glove. A seething prisoner barely able to contain his rage over his incarceration and the vicious machinations of the warden, Joe dominates the men in his cellblock by the raw power of his presence.Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Du rififi chez les hommes AKA Rififi (1955)

    1951-1960ClassicsCrimeFranceJules Dassin


    The modern heist movie was invented in Paris in 1954 by Jules Dassin, with “Rififi,” and Jean-Pierre Melville, with “Bob le Flambeur.” Dassin built his film around a 28-minute safe-cracking sequence that is the father of all later movies in which thieves carry out complicated robberies. Working across Paris at the same time, Melville’s film, which translates as “Bob the High Roller,” perfected the plot in which a veteran criminal gathers a group of specialists to make a big score. The Melville picture was remade twice as “Ocean’s Eleven,” and echoes of the Dassin can be found from Kubrick’s “The Killing” to Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.” They both owe something to John Huston’s “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950), which has the general idea but not the attention to detail.Read More »

  • Jules Dassin – Pote tin Kyriaki aka Never on Sunday (1960)

    1951-1960ComedyGreeceJules DassinRomance


    Illia is Piraeus’s most popular person: an energetic prostitute, full of life and good humor.
    Every day, she swims at the pier, entertaining the dock hands. Sundays she has an
    open house with food, drink and song. Homer Thrace, an amateur philosopher from
    Middletown, Conn., arrives in town to find out why Greece has fallen from ancient
    greatness. He decides Illia is a symbol of that fall, so he sets out to study and to save
    her. Unknown to Illia, he gets the money for the books and all else he gives her from Mr.
    No Face, the local vice boss who wants Illia retired because her independence gives
    other whores ideas. Whose spirit is stronger: Homer’s classical ideal or Illia’s?Read More »

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