Two Men in Manhattan
(Deux hommes dans Manhattan)
Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Pierre Grasset, Christiane Eudès, Ginger Hall,
Before the so-called New Wave, père Melville went his own experimental way with this low-budget film set in the heart of the Asphalt Jungle, New York. Melville’s Manhattan is how he found it, “as dark as it is beautiful.” A French journalist (played by Melville himself) and a photographer follow the story of a missing French diplomat who, it seems, has died in the apartment of his mistress. The journalists can aid the homeland or abet the scandal—or adhere to principle, if one knew what that was. Melville essentially follows his nose in this one, through semi-documentary New York exteriors cunningly cut with French interiors, working a jazz score into the plot itself, and giving in to the hopelessness of French actors speaking American in the bit parts.