Night and the City is a grim, film noir adaptation of Gerald Kersh's similarly grim source novel. Director Jules Dassin, forced to leave Hollywood because of the 1950s blacklist, effectively uses his London setting to create an urban nightmare. The film is dominated by its downbeat ambience and the moral ambiguity of its characters. There is a protagonist, but he is neither a hero nor an anti-hero. As might have been expected, the film did poorly in its initial US theatrical release. The performances are consistently strong, particularly the lead performance of Richard Widmark. While never greatly popular with audiences, Night and the City presages such intense urban films as Taxi Driver and Seven; the star of the former, Robert De Niro, also starred in a subsequent remake of Night and the City.