Night and the City appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer gave us a very good reproduction of the film.
Sharpness appeared nicely tight and distinctive most of the time. A smidgen of softness occurred, though I suspect these instances came from the source photography. I didn’t think those concerns because problematic, though, as the definition was fine most of the time. No issues with shimmering or jagged edges occurred.
Despite the film’s advanced age, source flaws were non-existent; this was a clean presentation. A good layer of grain appeared, so I didn’t suspect significant noise reduction. Contrast was strong, as the movie consistently maintained a nice silver tone. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows were smooth and well-defined. Overall, this was a strong presentation.
While not in the same league as the picture, the LPCM monaural soundtrack of City also worked well. Speech seemed reasonably accurate and distinct, with no issues related to intelligibility or edginess. Music came across as fairly bright and lively, though dynamic range seemed limited given the restrictions of the source.
Effects were similarly modest but they showed good clarity and accuracy within the confines of 65-year-old stems. This was a more than adequate auditory presentation for an older movie.
As we shift to the set’s extras, we begin with an audio commentary from film scholar Glenn Erickson. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and the script, the different versions of the movie, cast and crew, story/character areas and performances, locations, complications and the flick’s release/reception.
Though he touches on all those topics, Erickson mostly concentrates on story/character domains, specifically as they relate to the novel, the script and the two cuts of the movie that I’ll discuss soon. Erickson covers the various areas in a satisfying manner that teaches us a lot about the film, and we get good info about the Hollywood Blacklist and its impact. This ends up as a quality chat.
For an alternate cut of City, we find The British Version. This edition of City lasts one hour, 40 minutes and six seconds and contains a completely different score as well as other changes. Though Dassin – who wasn’t involved in the editing/scoring of either cut due to the Blacklist – prefers the shorter American version, it’s cool to see this alternate take.
For more about “The British Version”, we get a featurette called Two Versions, Two Scores. In this 23-minute, 55-second piece, film scholar Christopher Husted discusses the two cuts, with an emphasis on the different scores. He offers a good overview of the subject matter that expands on what we learn in Erickson’s commentary.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two separate interviews with director Jules Dassin. The first comes from 2004 and lasts 17 minutes, 52 seconds. Dassin talks about the Hollywood Blacklist and how it led to his assignment to make City as well as aspects of the film’s creation. Dassin provides a nice array of thoughts about City.
From June 1970, we find a 25-minute, 26-second segment from the French TV show L’invite du dimanche. Along with host Paul Seban, Dassin chats about his career and life in a broader manner; we hear about City but unlike the 2004 piece, it doesn’t become the focus. This 1970 interview acts as a good complement to the more recent one, especially because it does more to touch on Dassin’s reaction to the Blacklist.
Finally, we get a booklet. This offers a fold-out artistic poster of Harry on one side and an essay from film critic Paul Arthur on the other. It completes the package in a positive manner.
With a seedy setting and mostly unlikable characters, Night and the City paints an intriguing tale. The movie keeps us involved as we invest in the dark circumstances. The Blu-ray boasts good picture and audio along with an informative set of supplements. Film noir fans will enjoy City.