Film Noir Master Dassin Dead at 96

American director made classic Rififi in France
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2008 7:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Jules Dassin, a master of film noir who left Hollywood after being blacklisted, has died in an Athens hospital at the age of 96, reports the Los Angeles Times. Born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Connecticut, Dassin made such dark crime dramas as Brute Force and The Naked City in the 1940s. Hounded during the Red scare, he moved to France, where he directed his masterpiece, Rififi.

Rififi, the archetypal film noir, remains famous for its half-hour, dialogue-free burglary sequence. The film inspired caper movies from Ocean's Eleven to Mission: Impossible. François Truffaut called it "the best film noir I have ever seen." Dassin was "a rare human being, a significant artist, and true friend," the prime minister of Greece said in a statement.