December 18, 1911
Middletown, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||March 31, 2008 96) (aged|
(m. 1937;div. 1962)
(m. 1966;died 1994)
|Children|| Joseph Ira 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 in the McCarthy era, and subsequently moved to France, where he continued his career.
Dassin was born in Middletown, Connecticut, one of eight children of Berthe Vogel and Samuel Dassin, a barber. His parents were both Jewish immigrants from Odessa, in modern-day Ukraine.Dassin grew up in Harlem and went to Morris High School in the Bronx. During his youth he attended Camp Kinderland, the left-wing Yiddish youth camp. He joined the Communist Party USA in the 1930s and left it after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 1939.
Dassin started as an actor with the ARTEF ( Yiddish Proletarian Theater ) company in New York. He collaborated on a film with Jack Skurnick that was uncompleted because of Skurnick's early death.
In 1940 he moved to Hollywood and became an assistant director at RKO Pictures before moving to MGM where he made short films including The Tell-Tale Heart (1941) which led to him being promoted to direct feature films.
Dassin quickly became better known for his noir films Brute Force (1947), The Naked City (1948), and Thieves' Highway (1949), which helped him to become regarded as "one of the leading American filmmakers of the postwar era."
Dassin said that in 1948, Darryl F. Zanuck called him into his office to inform him he would be blacklisted, but he still had enough time to make a movie for Fox.Dassin was blacklisted in Hollywood during the production of Night and the City (1950). He was not allowed on the studio property to edit or oversee the musical score for the film. 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 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 1955 (a French production), his most influential film and an early work in the "heist film" genre. He won the Best Director award for the film at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.
It inspired later heist films, such as Ocean's Eleven (1960).Another film it inspired was Dassin's own heist film Topkapi (1964), filmed in France and Istanbul, Turkey with his future second wife, Melina Mercouri and Oscar winner Peter Ustinov.
Most of Dassin's films in the decades following the blacklist are European productions.His later career in Europe and the affiliation with Greece through his second wife, combined with the Frenchified pronunciation of his surname in Europe (as "Da-SAn" instead of the common American "DASS-ine") led to a common misconception that he was a native European director.
At the Cannes Film Festival in May 1955 he met Melina Mercouri, Greek actress and wife of Panos Harokopos.At about the same time, he discovered the literary works of Nikos Kazantzakis; these two elements created a bond with Greece. Dassin next made He Who Must Die (1957) based on Kazantzakis' Christ Recrucified and in which Mercouri appeared. She went on to star in his Never on Sunday (1960) for which she won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival. She then starred in his next three films – Phaedra (1962), Topkapi (1964) and 10:30 P.M. Summer (1966).
He divorced his first wife, Béatrice Launer, in 1962 and married Mercouri in 1966. She later starred in his Promise at Dawn (1970)—during the filming of which, Dassin broke both his legs—and later A Dream of Passion (1978).
Dassin was considered a major Philhellene to the point of Greek officials describing him as a "first generation Greek". Along with Mercouri, he opposed the Greek military junta.
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. In 1974 he and Mercouri made The Rehearsal about the junta.
While Mercouri became involved with politics and won a parliamentary seat, Dassin stayed with movie-making in Europe. In 1982 he was a member of the jury at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.
Dassin died from complications of influenza at the age of 96; he was 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."
A major supporter of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, for which he established the Melina Mercouri Institution in her memory after her death in 1994, he died a few months before the opening ceremony of the New Acropolis Museum.
Dassin married twice. Before his marriage to Mercouri, he married Béatrice Launer in 1937; she was a New York–born, [ citation needed ] Jewish–American [ citation needed ] violinist (aka Beatrice Launer-Dassin; 1913–1994), a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music. They divorced in 1962. Their children were Joseph Ira Dassin, better known as 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.).
The Academy Film Archive has preserved Jules Dassin's film Night and the City, including the British and pre-release versions.
In 2000, Rialto pictures restored and released Rififi theatrically. It was subsequently released on home video through The Criterion Collection and Arrow Films.
|1941||The Tell-Tale Heart||Yes|
|The Affairs of Martha||Yes|
|Reunion in France||Yes|
|1944||The Canterville Ghost||Yes|
|1946||Two Smart People||Yes|
|A Letter for Evie||Yes|
|1948||The Naked City||Yes|
|1950||Night and the City||Yes|
|1955||Rififi||Yes||Yes||Yes||César le Milanais|
|1957||He Who Must Die||Yes||Yes|
|1960||Never on Sunday||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Homer Thrace|
|1966||10:30 P.M. Summer||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1970||Promise at Dawn||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Ivan Mosjukine|
|1978||A Dream of Passion||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1980||Circle of Two||Yes|
Topkapi is 1964 Technicolor heist film produced by Filmways Pictures and distributed by United Artists.
Maria Amalia "Melina" Mercouri was a Greek actress, singer, socialist, activist and politician. She came from a political family that was prominent over multiple generations. She received an Academy Award nomination and won a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for her performance in the film Never on Sunday (1960). Mercouri was also nominated for three Golden Globes and two BAFTA Awards in her acting career.
Never on Sunday is a 1960 Greek romantic comedy film, written by, directed by, and starring Jules Dassin.
Joseph "Joe" Ira Dassin was an American-born French singer-songwriter.
Stella is a 1955 Greek film is a retelling of Carmen featuring Melina Mercouri. The film was directed by the Greek Cypriot Michael Cacoyannis and written by Cacoyannis and Iakovos Kambanelis. The music was composed by Manos Hadjidakis and Vassilis Tsitsanis.
The cinema of Greece has a long and rich history. Though hampered at times by war or political instability, the Greek film industry dominates the domestic market and has experienced international success. Characteristics of Greek cinema include a dynamic plot, strong character development and erotic themes. Two Greek films, Missing (1982) and Eternity and a Day (1998), have won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Five Greek films have received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Rififi is a 1955 French crime film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name. Directed by American blacklisted filmmaker Jules Dassin, the film stars Jean Servais as the aging gangster Tony "le Stéphanois", Carl Möhner as Jo "le Suédois", Robert Manuel as Mario Farrati, and Jules Dassin as César "le Milanais". The foursome band together to commit an almost impossible theft, the burglary of an exclusive jewelry shop on the Rue de Rivoli. The centerpiece of the film is an intricate half-hour heist scene depicting the crime in detail, shot in near silence, without dialogue or music. The fictional burglary has been mimicked by criminals in actual crimes around the world.
Phaedra is a 1962 American-Greek drama film directed by Jules Dassin as a vehicle for his partner Melina Mercouri, after her worldwide hit Never on Sunday.
A Man Could Get Killed is a 1966 adventure comedy film directed by Ronald Neame and Cliff Owen, shot on various locations in Portugal and starring James Garner, Melina Mercouri, Sandra Dee, Anthony Franciosa, and Robert Coote. Filmed scenes with Jenny Agutter, then 14, did not appear in the final cut.
"Never on Sunday", also known by its original Greek title "Ta Pediá tou Pireá", is a popular song written by Manos Hatzidakis and first sung by Melina Mercouri in the film of same name, directed by Jules Dassin and starring Mercouri. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1960, a first for a foreign-language picture. The film score to the movie was first released on 1 October 1960 by United Artists Records. The song has since been recorded by numerous artists, and has gained various degrees of success throughout the world.
The 22nd Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film for 1964 films, were held on February 8, 1965.
Illya Darling is a musical with a book by Jules Dassin, music by Manos Hadjidakis, and lyrics by Joe Darion, based on Dassin's 1960 film Never on Sunday.
Nikos Kourkoulos was a highly respected Greek theatrical and film performer, one of the most talented and recognizable actors in Greece of modern times. Kourkoulos is best known to Greek audiences for playing "Angelos Kreouzis" in Oratotis miden, but he also appeared in other movies such as To Homa vaftike kokkino, Exodos kindynou, O Astrapogiannos, O Katiforos among others.
Stathis Giallelis is a Greek actor. He won brief international renown in the early 1960s as the star of Elia Kazan's Academy Award-nominated epic America America, a role which brought him the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor, as well as a nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
He Who Must Die (French: Celui qui doit mourir is a 1957 French-Italian film directed by Jules Dassin. It is based on the novel Christ Recrucified by Nikos Kazantzakis. It was entered into the 1957 Cannes Film Festival.
Jack Skurnick was an American record producer and writer, known as the founder and director of EMS Recordings and as publisher and editor of the music review Just Records.
Promise at Dawn is a 1970 American drama film directed by Jules Dassin and starring Melina Mercouri, Dassin's wife. It is based on the 1960 novel Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary and the subsequent play by Samuel A. Taylor.
A Dream of Passion is a 1978 Greek drama film directed by Jules Dassin. The story follows Melina Mercouri as Maya, an actress playing Medea, who seeks out Brenda Collins, portrayed by Ellen Burstyn, a woman who is in jail for murdering her own children to punish her husband for his infidelity.
The 8th Cannes Film Festival was held from 26 April to 10 May 1955. The Golden Palm went to the US film Marty by Delbert Mann. The festival opened with Du rififi chez les hommes by Jules Dassin and closed with Carmen Jones by Otto Preminger.
The 34th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 17–28 February 1984. The festival opened with The Noah's Ark Principle by Roland Emmerich.The Golden Bear was awarded to the American film Love Streams directed by John Cassavetes. The retrospective was dedicated to German-American actor, screenwriter, producer and film director Ernst Lubitsch. The Honorary Golden Bear was awarded to American director Jules Dassin and Greek actress Melina Mercouri and the Homage section was dedicated to the couple.
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