Entertainment » Movies

Two Men in Manhattan

by Ed Tapper
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 17, 2013
Two Men in Manhattan

Following on the heels of Criterion, the Cohen Media Group continues to carve out its niche, specializing in lesser known films of historical interest. Among its newer releases is an early film by the French New Wave director Jean-Pierre Melville. Not only did he direct the 1959 "Two Men in Manhattan," but he assumes the film's leading role as well. And he is quite good as a French newspaper reporter who elicits the help of an unscrupulous press photographer to discover the whereabouts of a missing French UN delegate. The two men cruise Manhattan by night, interrogating the diplomat's lesbian secretary and an assortment of his former female escorts. Discovering the unsavory truth, the pair is faced with the dilemma of whether or not to break the scandal to the press.

With its tough dialogue and often stilted acting, "Two Men..." is a homage to the gritty films of director Sam Fuller. Unfortunately, it lacks the tension of American noir films. The storyline is tepid, and there is too much talk, and not enough action. However, the film's considerable assets include Melville's stylish direction, a cool Jazz score by Martial Solal, and scads of dazzling '50s footage of NYC, particularly of Times Square.

This rarity is definitely worth a viewing!

In spite of the film's weaknesses, Cohen's new Blu-ray makes a strong case for "Two Men in Manhattan." The black & white contrast is quite good, and the picture quality considerably sharper than DVD standards. A few of the many nocturnal shots are muddy, but this was probably inherent in the original print. Extras include trailers, and a detailed analysis of the film by two astute critics. If you are deterred by the many previews, use the menu button to access the film directly. This rarity is definitely worth a viewing!

Two Men in Manhattan


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