Jules Dassin

Jules Dassin, actually Julius Dassin ( born December 18, 1911 in Middletown, Connecticut, † March 31, 2008 in Athens ) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer and actor. After initial success in Hollywood he went during the McCarthy era into exile in Europe, where he continued his career. Among his best known films include Rififi and Sundays ... never!


Jules Dassin was the son of Samuel Dassin, a Russian-Jewish immigrants, and Berthe Vogel. After the family moved to New York, he grew up with seven siblings in the Harlem district. He joined the political left, Yiddish theater group " ArteF " ( Arbeter Theatre Farband ) to, in which he only later worked as a director as an actor, and the " Group Theatre ". In the 1930s he became a member of the Communist Party USA, from which he in 1939, disappointed, resigned again over the Hitler -Stalin pact. 1940 led Dassin debut as a director on Broadway and wrote for radio broadcasts.

1941 gave Dassin made ​​his debut as a film director in the film studio Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer. After his falling out with MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, he turned to the producer Mark Hellinger and Universal Pictures, the film noirs cell R 17 and city without a mask. After Hellinger's premature death Dassin moved to 20th Century Fox and resulted in a further film noir directed by, risk in Frisco. The incipient McCarthyism began his career in the United States to an end. As early as 1949 became Dassin because of his political past targeted anti-communist investigations, which is why Fox production chief Darryl F. Zanuck Dassin made ​​his next film, The Rat Soho, turn in London. Dassin could not even cut the film because of the access to the studio lot in Hollywood he was denied. The director gave the cutting instructions further by phone or memo. In the theatrical release, the critics went with the rat Soho harshly, today he is regarded as one of the strongest Dassin's work.

1951 denounced Elia Kazan and Edward Dmytryk Dassin before the Committee on Un-American Activities ( HUAC ). With no prospect of employment in the American movie business Dassin went with his family to Europe. There, too, he could only again after five years to make a film, because of the American side pressure on the European producers was exercised, the fear had that his films were not marketed in the United States. In 1955 he took over the work on his first European film only from financial hardship. Filmed in France gangster film Rififi became a huge critical and popular success. Dassin not only wrote the screenplay and directed, but played under the pseudonym Perlo Vita also one of the four main roles, as the intended actor did not show up to the shooting. For Dassin Rififi received in 1955 the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. The famous, not present in the original burglary scene has been quoted several times in other films, imitated and parodied, including by Dassin himself in Topkapi.

In 1955, he met in Cannes, the Greek actress Melina Mercouri know. The following year, she starred in his film The man who must die by Nikos Kazantzakis ' novel The Greek Passion ( Ο Χριστός ξανασταυρώνεται ). With Mercouri Dassin turned even the big international success sunday ... never! (1960) and Topkapi (1964).

Dassin and Mercouri were married in 1966. After the military coup and takeover of the Colonels' regime in Greece both went into exile in Paris.

Dassin's later films was granted neither commercial nor artistic success. In 1968 he returned for the film Black Power back to the U.S.. In the same year Dassin also worked on Broadway and was a director and screenwriter of the musical version of Sunday ... never! nominated for two Tony Awards.

In 1974, after the end of military dictatorship, Dassin and Mercouri lived again in his adopted home of Greece. In 1992 he was awarded the honorary citizenship. After the death of his wife in 1994 he founded the " Melina Mercouri Foundation " and pleaded for the return of the Parthenon frieze from London to Athens. The initiated by him with new Acropolis Museum was opened in 2009. The opening did not live Dassin: He died 96 years old in Athens Hygeia Hospital. He was, according to his wish, buried in Athens beside the grave of Melina Mercouri.


From the first, divorced in 1962 with the Hungarian violinist Béatrice Launer the popular French chanson singer Joe Dassin ( 1938-1980 ) and the daughters Richelle ( born 1940 ) and Julie come (* 1944).


Awards (selection)