The Info List - Jules Dassin

Julius "Jules" Dassin (December 18, 1911 – March 31, 2008) was an American film director, producer, writer and actor. He was a subject of the Hollywood blacklist
Hollywood blacklist
in the McCarthy era, and subsequently moved to France, where he revived his career.


1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Hollywood Blacklist

3 Personal life 4 Affiliation with Greece 5 Awards and honors 6 Preservation 7 Filmography 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Dassin was born in Middletown, Connecticut, one of eight children of Berthe Vogel and Samuel Dassin, a barber. His family was of Ukrainian and Polish-Jewish extraction. Dassin grew up in Harlem and went to Morris High School in the Bronx. He joined the Communist Party USA
Communist Party USA
in the 1930s and left it after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
in 1939. He started as a Yiddish actor with the ARTEF (Yiddish Proletarian Theater) company in New York. He collaborated on a film with Jack Skurnick that was incomplete because of Skurnick's early death. Career[edit] Dassin quickly became better known for his noir films Brute Force (1947), The Naked City
The Naked City
(1948), and Thieves' Highway (1949), which helped him to become "one of the leading American filmmakers of the postwar era."[1] Dassin's most influential film was Rififi
(1955), an early work in the "heist film" genre. It inspired later heist films, such as Ocean's Eleven (1960).[1] Another piece it inspired was Dassin's own heist film Topkapi, filmed in France and Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
with Melina Mercouri and Oscar winner Peter Ustinov. Hollywood Blacklist[edit] Main article: Hollywood Blacklist Dassin said Darryl F. Zanuck
Darryl F. Zanuck
in 1948 called him into his office to inform him he would be blacklisted, but he still had enough time to make a movie for Fox.[2] Dassin was blacklisted in Hollywood during the production of Night and the City
Night and the City
(1950).[3] He was not allowed on the studio property to edit or oversee the musical score for the film.[4] He also had trouble finding work abroad, as U.S. distribution companies blacklisted the U.S. distribution of any European film associated with artists blacklisted in Hollywood. In 1952, after Dassin had been out of work for two years, actress Bette Davis
Bette Davis
hired him to direct her in the Broadway revue Two's Company. The show closed early, however, and Dassin left for Europe. Dassin did not work as a film director again until Rififi
in 1954 (a French production). Most of Dassin's films in the decades following the blacklist are European productions.[1] His prolific later career in Europe and the affiliation with Greece through his second wife, combined with a common pronunciation of his surname as "Da-SAN" in Europe, as opposed to "DASS-in" in the United States leads to a common misconception that he was a European director.[4] Personal life[edit]

Joe and Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
with Béatrice Launer in Paris in 1970

Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
was married twice:

In 1937 he married Béatrice Launer, a New York–born,[citation needed] Jewish–American[citation needed] violinist (aka Beatrice Launer-Dassin; 1913–1994),[5] a graduate of the Juilliard School
Juilliard School
of Music.[6] They married in 1937 and divorced in 1962. Their children were Joseph Ira Dassin, better known as Joe Dassin
Joe Dassin
(1938–80), a popular French singer in the 1970s; songwriter Richelle "Rickie" Dassin (born 1940); and actress–singer Julie Dassin (born 1944; also known as Julie D.).[7] In May 1955 he met Melina Mercouri, Greek actress and former wife of Panos Harokopos, at the Cannes Film Festival; she later starred in several of Dassin's films. At about the same time, he discovered the literary works of Nikos Kazantzakis; these two elements created a bond with Greece. He divorced Launer in 1962 and married Mercouri in 1966; they remained married until Mercouri's death in 1994. The couple had to leave Greece after the colonels' coup in 1967. In 1970, they were accused of having financed an attempt to overthrow the dictatorship, but the charges were quickly dropped.[citation needed] Dassin and Mercouri lived in New York City during the 1970s; then, when the military dictatorship in Greece fell in 1974, they returned to Greece and lived out their lives there. While Mercouri became involved with politics and won a parliamentary seat, Dassin stayed with movie-making in Europe but found time in the U.S. to make another movie, the racial drama Uptight, which would be his last American film.[citation needed]

Affiliation with Greece[edit] He was considered a major Philhellene
to the point of Greek officials describing him as a "first generation Greek." Along with his second wife Melina Mercouri, he opposed the Greek military junta. A major supporter of the return of the Elgin Marbles
Elgin Marbles
to Athens, for which he established the Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri
Institution in her memory, he missed the opening ceremony of the New Acropolis Museum
New Acropolis Museum
by only a few months owing to his death at the age of 96.[8] He died from complications from a case of flu; he is survived by his two daughters and his grandchildren. Upon his death, the Greek prime minister, Costas Karamanlis, released a statement: "Greece mourns the loss of a rare human being, a significant artist and true friend. His passion, his relentless creative energy, his fighting spirit and his nobility will remain unforgettable."[1] Awards and honors[edit] For his 1955 film Rififi, Dassin earned the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.[1] His 1960 film Never on Sunday
Never on Sunday
earned the music Academy Award
Academy Award
(Manos Hadjidakis,(Greek: Τα παιδιά του Πειραιά), Ta Paidia tou Peiraia), and the Cannes Film Festival best actress award (Melina Mercouri).[8][9] In 1982, he was a member of the jury at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.[10] Preservation[edit] The Academy Film Archive preserved Jules Dassin's film "Night and the City," including the British and pre-release versions.[11] Filmography[edit]

Year Film Credited as

Director Producer Writer Actor Role

1941 The Tell-Tale Heart Yes

1942 Nazi Agent Yes

The Affairs of Martha Yes

Reunion in France Yes

1943 Young Ideas Yes

1944 The Canterville Ghost Yes

1946 Two Smart People Yes

A Letter for Evie Yes

1947 Brute Force Yes

1948 The Naked City Yes

1949 Thieves' Highway Yes

1950 Night and the City Yes

1955 Rififi Yes

Yes Yes César le Milanais

1957 He Who Must Die Yes


1959 The Law Yes


1960 Never on Sunday Yes Yes Yes Yes Homer Thrace

1962 Phaedra Yes Yes Yes Yes Christo

1964 Topkapı Yes Yes

Yes Turkish cop

1966 10:30 P.M. Summer Yes Yes Yes

1968 Survival 1967 Yes Yes

Uptight Yes Yes Yes

1970 Promise at Dawn Yes Yes Yes Yes Ivan Mozzhukhin

1974 The Rehearsal Yes

Yes Yes

1978 A Dream of Passion Yes Yes Yes

1980 Circle of Two Yes


^ a b c d e Luther, Claudia (April 1, 2008). "Noir master directed caper classic 'Rififi'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 28, 2015.  ^ Cineaste, Dan Georgakas, spring 2007, p.72 ^ The film was shot in 1949, see Duncan, Paul (July 2, 2014). "Why I Love: Night and the City
Night and the City
(1950)". Port. Retrieved September 28, 2015.  ^ a b Dassin, Jules (February 1, 2005). Night and the City (post-screening interview in DVD supplements). Criterion Collection.  ^ Beatrice Dassin. Genealogy Bank. Retrieved on July 26, 2015. ^ The Juilliard School
Juilliard School
of Music, "The Baton", p. 12 Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Julie D.. Rateyourmusic.com (July 19, 1945). Retrieved on July 26, 2015. ^ a b (in Greek) Skai News Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Απεβίωσε ο Ζυλ Ντασέν ( Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
died), English (machine translation) Retrieved on April 1, 2008. ^ Internet Movie Database, Pote tin Kyriaki (1960), Retrieved on April 1, 2008. ^ "Berlinale: 1984 Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved November 21, 2010.  ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jules Dassin.

Biography portal

Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
on IMDb Family photos (French) Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
at The New York Times
The New York Times
Movies New York Times obituary Obituary on the World Socialist Web Site Works by or about Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
in libraries ( WorldCat

v t e

Films directed by Jules Dassin

The Tell-Tale Heart Nazi Agent The Affairs of Martha Reunion in France Young Ideas The Canterville Ghost Two Smart People A Letter for Evie Brute Force The Naked City Thieves' Highway Night and the City Rififi He Who Must Die The Law Never on Sunday Phaedra Topkapi 10:30 P.M. Summer Hamilchama al hashalom Uptight Promise at Dawn The Rehearsal A Dream of Passion Circle of Two

v t e

Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
Best Director Award

René Clément
René Clément
(1946) René Clément
René Clément
(1949) Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel
(1951) Christian-Jaque (1952) Jules Dassin
Jules Dassin
/ Sergei Vasilyev
Sergei Vasilyev
(1955) Sergei Yutkevich
Sergei Yutkevich
(1956) Robert Bresson (1957) Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
(1958) François Truffaut
François Truffaut
(1959) Yuliya Solntseva
Yuliya Solntseva
(1961) Liviu Ciulei (1965) Sergei Yutkevich
Sergei Yutkevich
(1966) Ferenc Kósa
Ferenc Kósa
(1967) Glauber Rocha
Glauber Rocha
/ Vojtěch Jasný
Vojtěch Jasný
(1969) John Boorman
John Boorman
(1970) Miklós Jancsó
Miklós Jancsó
(1972) Michel Brault / Costa-Gavras
(1975) Ettore Scola
Ettore Scola
(1976) Nagisa Oshima
Nagisa Oshima
(1978) Terrence Malick
Terrence Malick
(1979) Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
(1982) Robert Bresson / Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei Tarkovsky
(1983) Bertrand Tavernier
Bertrand Tavernier
(1984) André Téchiné
André Téchiné
(1985) Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
(1986) Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders
(1987) Fernando Solanas
Fernando Solanas
(1988) Emir Kusturica
Emir Kusturica
(1989) Pavel Lungin
Pavel Lungin
(1990) Joel Coen (1991) Robert Altman
Robert Altman
(1992) Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh
(1993) Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti
(1994) Mathieu Kassovitz
Mathieu Kassovitz
(1995) Joel Coen (1996) Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-wai
(1997) John Boorman
John Boorman
(1998) Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar
(1999) Edward Yang (2000) Joel Coen / David Lynch
David Lynch
(2001) Im Kwon-taek / Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson
(2002) Gus Van Sant
Gus Van Sant
(2003) Tony Gatlif
Tony Gatlif
(2004) Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke
(2005) Alejandro González Iñárritu
Alejandro González Iñárritu
(2006) Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel
(2007) Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
(2008) Brillante Mendoza
Brillante Mendoza
(2009) Mathieu Amalric
Mathieu Amalric
(2010) Nicolas Winding Refn
Nicolas Winding Refn
(2011) Carlos Reygadas
Carlos Reygadas
(2012) Amat Escalante
Amat Escalante
(2013) Bennett Miller
Bennett Miller
(2014) Hou Hsiao-hsien
Hou Hsiao-hsien
(2015) Olivier Assayas
Olivier Assayas
/ Cristian Mungiu
Cristian Mungiu
(2016) Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola

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