Turner Classic Movies, 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. His directing and screenwriting were nominated for Academy Awards. When the regime lost power in 1974, he and Ms. Mercouri returned from exile, which had been spent mainly in Paris. Losey also faced this sort of inanity because his greatest work, such as Blind Date (Chance Meeting, 1959), deals with the return of the repressed of class in a context where sex and politics are paramount and interdependent. During the production of the film he was blacklisted in Hollywood which restricted him from entering the studio property for editing or for any other work on the film. Please subscribe to keep reading. It’s not coincidental that the cheerful work came out at the same time as the end of the blacklist. He was born in Connecticut, United States, in a town called Middletown. The FBI, HUAC, and the Red Menace, published in 1983). The fact that this “greater psychological and social realism” went unnoticed critically in Britain concerning both Dassin and Losey (at least until the 1960s) is an indication of the parlous state of so-called criticism and the whole ideology of what realism “is.”. Biography by Hal Erickson [+] One of the most defiantly visible survivors of the Hollywood Blacklist was American director Jules Dassin. Soon he was directing films for MGM, including “Reunion in France,” a Joan Crawford vehicle with John Wayne in which her character comes to believe that her fiancé is a Nazi collaborator. It was based on his film ‘Never on Sunday’ and starred Mercouri, who received a ‘Tony Award’ nomination for her performance. Jules Dassin was born in Middletown on Dec. 18, 1911, one of eight children of Samuel Dassin, an immigrant barber from Russia, and the former Berthe Vogel. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? ‘I was thinking when I was writing about my character’s death,’ he says. In 1940 he went to Hollywood, where he worked briefly at RKO as an assistant director before moving on to MGM. RH: I agree with Thom Andersen. No one seems to have doubted his sincerity or honesty. He also performed in many of his films. An example: writing in the mid-1960s one British critic said of Night and the City that it “played merry hell with London’s layout.” In other words, when the Richard Widmark character (and this is perhaps that late, great actor’s finest achievement) moves from point A to point C without our being shown point B, Dassin is being unrealistic because, say, Piccadilly and the Embankment are not spatially contiguous! Incidentally, I feel it is essential not to refer too readily to McCarthy in the context of the Hollywood witch-hunts: he never investigated Hollywood and the witch-hunts started when he was an unknown quantity. “He mixed the fantastic and the real with masterly ease.”. Left-wing artistic circles abounded in New York during the Depression. He joined the Communist Party in 1930s, a decision he recalled in 2002 in an interview with The Guardian in London. Today, it can’t hold a candle to [Jacques Becker’s 1954] Touchez pas au Grisbi, which paved the way for it, let alone [Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1956] Bob le Flambeur, which it paved the way for.”, Be that as it may, Rififi is a competently and intelligently made and acted film, with Dassin playing one of the criminals. In no time he established himself as one of the leading filmmakers of America during that era. David Walsh: What is your opinion of Jules Dassin’s films, particularly those he made in the US and Britain between 1947 and 1950? But I wonder (this is a working hypothesis) if current America is not worse, with the domination of Fox News, for example. He directed ‘Illya Darling’, a Broadway musical. One is our old friend “social comment,” but that tends to rope in junk made by Elia Kazan, such as Gentleman’s Agreement and A Face in the Crowd, and neglect the work of Douglas Sirk, the one Marxist who was able to work quietly and subversively in his corner without being harassed. One obvious negative result of witch-hunting in general—and here McCarthy (or rather: McCarthyism) comes into his own—was the inability of radicals to have the chance to express themselves publicly on TV or radio: Red-baiting sponsors saw to that. His father was a barber. In order to sustain in a new country he agreed to direct the 1955 low-budget French crime film ‘Rififi’ starring Jean Servais, Carl Möhner and Robert Manuel. The film fetched him the Best Director award at the 1955 ‘Cannes Film Festival’ and also paved way for other opportunities. Other outstanding movies (all examples of film noir, the privileged means of expression until the axe fell) are Gun Crazy (1949, like the Losey, written by Dalton Trumbo using a front) and Endfield’s Sound of Fury (also 1950) which insists on the alienation (both social and psychological) caused by unemployment and poverty in that green and pleasant land, California. Mr. Dassin left the United States for France in 1953 because, he said, he was “unemployable” in Hollywood. In the mid-1930s, Mr. Dassin studied drama in Europe before returning to New York, where he made his debut as an actor in the Yiddish Theater. Melina lost her Greek citizenship for this and the couple shifted to Manhattan. A remake of The Informer boasted many of the day’s top African American actors, including Ruby Dee, Raymond St. Jacques, and Roscoe Lee Browne. Rather his name should be evoked as the manifest tip of an iceberg, where his bullying enabled a far more dangerous person to ply his trade behind the scenes, emerging onto the stage only when he deemed it necessary: J. Edgar Hoover (on the role of the FBI, see Kenneth O’Reilly’s indispensable study Hoover and the Un-Americans. Julius " Jules " Dassin (De­cem­ber 18, 1911 – March 31, 2008) was an Amer­i­can film di­rec­tor, pro­ducer, writer and actor. So I shall be provocative, inasmuch as I am expressing an idea more or less proscribed on the Left: with the exception of the 1940s, the 1950s is the richest and most complex decade in the history of Hollywood and, with the benefit of the contributions of the blacklistees, would have been the greatest decade. The most memorable scenes involve Widmark’s desperate efforts to stay ahead of his killers. According to Brian Neve in Film and Politics in America, ARTEF was “founded in 1925 as an agitprop theatre, reflecting the Soviet practice of the time. There he turned his focus to more dramatic movies shifting from his earlier romantic comedies. The movie was a moneymaker and its title song was a hit, though some critics found the script predictable. Almost as good, and even more influential, was The Naked City (1948), a quasi-documentary police procedural filmed in New York City and starring Barry Fitzgerald and Howard Duff; it would be imitated dozens of times over the next 10 years, both in the cinema and on television. ‘Rififi’ earned praise from both the audience and the critics across France, the UK and the US. https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/jules-dassin-7716.php He would love to hear from you at rayivey@ca.rr.com. He advocated for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens and in this pursuit formed the ‘Melina Mercouri Institution’ in memory of his wife Melina, who died on March 6, 1994. DW: Given your knowledge of the McCarthyite witch-hunt in Hollywood, could you point to some of its more general and enduring consequences for the film industry and cultural life in the US? One of Dassin’s most well-known works, The Naked City is not necessarily one of his best. This is a syllogism, pure and simple! The Rehearsal (1974) and A Dream of Passion (1978) reteamed Mercouri and Dassin for the seventh and eighth times. Dassin became romantically and artistically involved with Greek actor Melina Mercouri in the mid-1950s. Dassin joined the American ‘Communist Party’ in the 1930s but left the party in 1939. She’s going through hell, and she’s a good kid. Neve writes: “The climax involves a chase through a Dickensian underworld as gang leaders offer £1,000 to anyone who can deliver Fabian.

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