This installment of Tudor City on Film examines Deux Hommes dans Manhattan (Two Men in Manhattan), a rarely seen 1959 French movie which opens with a scene set in the 43rd St cul-de-sac.
Though the picture may be obscure, its director, Jean-Pierre Melville is well known to cineastes as the spiritual father of French New Wave cinema. A triple threat in Deux Hommes, he not only directs, but also writes and stars in the flick. The genre is film noir, all the darker since all the action unfolds over a single night.
Following a zippy credit sequence filmed from a car cruising through Times Square, the picture proper begins in Tudor City, which is introduced in voice-over. (The film is in French, hence the subtitles).
Below, the first two frames look south down First Ave, with the U.N., steam plant smokestacks, and Tudor City, from left to right. The 1912 gaslight ‒ still in operation in 1959 ‒ was filmed in the 43rd St cul-de-sac.
This rather lyrical beginning is in complete opposition to the rest of the picture, which is an entertaining crawl through the seedier side of New York nightlife.
See the jazzy opening credits here. (Watch the whole thing on Kanopy).