Two Men in Manhattan

Two Men in Manhattan (French: Deux hommes dans Manhattan) is a 1959 French film-noir directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The film stars Melville (who also wrote the screenplay) and Pierre Grasset as two French journalists in New York City searching for a missing United Nations diplomat.

Deux hommes dans Manhattan
Directed byJean-Pierre Melville
Produced byFlorence Melville
Alain Térouanne
Written byJean-Pierre Melville
StarringJean-Pierre Melville
Pierre Grasset
Music byMartial Solal
Christian Chevallier
CinematographyNicolas Hayer
Edited byMonique Bonnot
Release date
16 October 1959 (France)
Running time
85 min
LanguageFrench / English

Though Melville occasionally played bit parts in films by other directors (most notably as Parvulesco in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless), Two Men in Manhattan was his only starring role and the only time he acted in one of his own films (he served as the off-screen narrator in Bob le flambeur).


After a hard day's work, the reporter Moreau is asked by his boss to find out why the head of the French delegation to the United Nations has suddenly disappeared. Moreau drags out of bed the unscrupulous photographer Delmas, who knows his way round Manhattan at night. Together they visit women the diplomat knew: an actress in a play, a jazz singer in a recording studio, a stripper in a burlesque show, a prostitute in an expensive brothel.

Stopping off in a bar, they hear from a news flash that the actress has tried to kill herself and is in hospital. Bluffing their way into her room, they bully the distressed woman into telling the truth: the ambassador is dead in her apartment, presumably from a heart attack. Taking a photograph of her in bed and stealing her keys, they rush round to find the corpse fully clothed on a sofa. Delmas removes some clothing and puts the body in the bed for a better picture. Ringing his boss to say the search is at an end, Moreau is told to keep it all quiet. Delmas wants the money he can make from his pictures so he pretends to allow Moreau's boss to destroy the rolls of film, but runs off with the real ones.

All night the two have been trailed by a mysterious car, whose driver turns out to be the diplomat's daughter. She is desperate to locate her father, a national hero for his role in the Resistance, and to protect her mother. Joining forces with Moreau, the two go round all the magazines and press agencies to find where Delmas has sold his films. Then they go looking for him in clubs and bars, eventually at dawn finding him in one asleep. Moreau tells him what he thinks of him, knocks him to the floor, and leaves with the girl. Coming to, Delmas staggers out and throws the unsold films down a grating.


  • Jean-Pierre Melville : Moreau, journalist with Agence France-Presse
  • Pierre Grasset : Delmas, photographer for France-Match
  • Christiane Eudes : Anne, the ambassador's daughter
  • Ginger Hall : Judith Nelson, the actress
  • Colette Fleury : Françoise Bonnot, the ambassador's secretary
  • Monique Hennessy : Gloria, the prostitute
  • Jean Lara : Aubert, chief editor of Agence France-Presse
  • Glenda Leigh : Virginia Graham, the jazz singer
  • Michèle Bailly : Bessie Reed, the stripper
  • Paula Dehelly : the ambassador's wife
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