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Jules Dassin

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Full Name
Julius Dassin

Jules Dassin

Film director

Jules Dassin Pictures amp Photos of Jules Dassin IMDb

December 18, 1911 (

March 31, 2008, Athens, Greece

Melina Mercouri (m. 1966–1994), Beatrice Launer (m. 1937–1962)

Joe Dassin, Julie Dassin, Richelle Dassin

Berthe Vogel, Samuel Dassin

Rififi, Pote tin Kyriaki, The Naked City, Night and the City, Topkapi

Similar People
Melina Mercouri, Joe Dassin, Richard Widmark, Jean Servais, Carl Mohner

RIFIFI, Jules Dassin, 1955 - Testing the Alarm Scene

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 revived his career.


Jules Dassin Jules Dassin Movies List on MUBI

Rififi jules dassin dvd recco film companion

Early life

Jules Dassin Jules Dassin

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 in the 1930s and left it after the 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.


Jules Dassin Jules Dassin personnalits et actu cinma Challengesfr

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 "one of the leading American filmmakers of the postwar era."

Jules Dassin waytofamouscomimagesjulesdassin07jpg

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). Another piece it inspired was Dassin's own heist film Topkapi, filmed in France and Istanbul, Turkey with Melina Mercouri and Oscar winner Peter Ustinov.

Hollywood Blacklist

Jules Dassin Jules Dassin at 100 Absinthe 16 literalab

Dassin said 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. 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 1954 (a French production). Most of Dassin's films in the decades following the blacklist are European productions. 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.

Personal life

Jules Dassin was married twice:

  • In 1937 he married Béatrice Launer, a New York–born, Jewish–American violinist (aka Beatrice Launer-Dassin; 1913–1994), a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music. They married in 1937 and 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.).
  • 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. 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.
  • Affiliation with Greece

    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 to Athens, for which he established the Melina Mercouri Institution in her memory, he missed the opening ceremony of the New Acropolis Museum by only a few months owing to his death at the age of 96. 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."

    Awards and honors

    For his 1955 film Rififi, Dassin earned the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. His 1960 film Never on Sunday earned the music Academy Award (Manos Hadjidakis,(Greek: Τα παιδιά του Πειραιά), Ta Paidia tou Peiraia), and the Cannes Film Festival best actress award (Melina Mercouri). In 1982, he was a member of the jury at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.


    The Academy Film Archive preserved Jules Dassin's film "Night and the City," including the British and pre-release versions.


    Jules Dassin Wikipedia

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