Day 10: Your Favorite Director
Yikes. These are getting tougher. I could go simple and just choose an auteur like Hitchcock or a prolific talent like Fritz Lang. I adore Billy Wilder and his talents in multiple genres. I’m even tempted to choose Ida Lupino for being the only woman to direct classic noir. However, I’m ultimately choosing a child of Russian Jews who endured the blacklist and made some of my favorite noir films:
JULES DASSIN (1911-2008)
Bio: One of eight children of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Dassin grew up in Harlem. He graduated HS in 1929 and took acting classes in Europe, then returned to NY and performed with a troupe in Yiddish. He soon switched to directing and writing and joined the Communist Party, though he left in 1939, disillusioned after the Soviet Union signed its pact with Hitler.
Dassin moved to Hollywood in 1940 and apprenticed with Hitchcock and Garson Kanin. He directed noirs including Brute Force (1947), The Naked City (1948), Thieves Highway (1949), and Night and the City (1950), the last filmed in London just before he was blacklisted by HUAC when he refused to testify after being denounced by fellow Hollywood directors Edward Dmytryk and Frank Tuttle. Dassin left for France in 1953, and by 1955 — despite poor French and limited connections — he produced Rififi (1955), which won him the Best Director Award at Cannes, and in which you can see him play Cesar le Milanais.