Two Men in Manhattan (1959)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


Two Men in Manhattan (1959) Poster

A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.

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6.8/10
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3 December 2015 | mgtbltp
8
| New York Tail Fin Noir
In French (Deux hommes dans Manhattan) is a 1959 New York City based French film-noir directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring, Jean- Pierre Melville, Pierre Grasset, Music by Martial Solal, Christian Chevallier Cinematography by Nicolas Hayer

Jean-Pierre Melville filmed both a Noir love letter and, almost a time capsule video documentary of 1958 New York City. From the opening bars of the jazzy score and Googie style credits that run over a wonderful (looking out the back window of a cab) trip down through traffic, a traffic of tail fin adorned cars, traveling South along Broadway, and then on 7th Avenue right through the heart of manically lit Times Square you know you are in for a special visual treat.

Melville's New York is the real deal. Its not some Hollywood back lot dressed up like New York City. Melville's New York is a dreary smoggy winter sky New York. The old New York that belched black coal smoke by the ton into the atmo, a New York of steaming manholes in streets that were choked with Buses and Checker Cabs. Melville's New York was a Holiday Day New York festooned with Christmas decorations two days before December 25th.

Two journalists become de facto detectives tracking down a missing diplomat through the underside of New York.

Pierre Grasset is great as the smart-alek Delmas his picaresque portrayal is very effective playing against Melville who is relatively somber. The film has but few flaws, probably the most notable for me are the interior shots of the E.D.D.I.E. whorehouse, the actresses playing the hookers seem to be speaking English phonetically, and ditto for the stripper Bessie Reed or she may just be dubbed. The excellent soundtrack is by Christian Chevallier and Martial Solal. 8/10

Two Men In Manhattan is available on DVD from Cohen Films it's in French with English subtitles.

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