One of the few (if any at the time this film was made) films shot in England with New York City's 'Little Italy" as the locale. This was Edward Dmytryk's first film after he had refused to ... See full summary »
One of the few (if any at the time this film was made) films shot in England with New York City's 'Little Italy" as the locale. This was Edward Dmytryk's first film after he had refused to tell a Congressional Committee whether or not he was, or had ever been, a member of the Communist Party. This is a 'runaway production' shot in England for political reasons and not for the usual USA tax-break reasons. Geremio, a young Italian immigrant to New York City, works as a bricklayer and is courting an Italian girl, Annunziata, by mail. He lies to her that he owns his own home and, after they are married, has to rent one for their three-day honeymoon. The years pass and they are unable to save enough money to get out of their slum tenement, and the 1929 depression brings even harder times to the family that now includes three children. Geremio, in order to make enough money to care for his family, exploits his "comrades" in dangerous construction work. This practice leads to the accidental ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Have I seen this film?! Only every time I teach an urban sociology class, when I show it to my students! I can only echo the previous commentator--what a great film! The best scene--and there are many--is during the Great Depression, when the five bricklayers decides that it is Julio, who starving mouths to feed, should get half a day's work. Then, through a store window, Geremio catches one of the other bricklayers panhandling. "Heaven has forgotten us!" his workfellow says. This film, whose story was written by an Italian socialist (DiDonato) and made by socialists in London (couldn't make it in New York--it was the McCarthy period, may he rest in pieces!) is, besides being dramatically and emotionally rich, is sociologically rich. It's a brilliant portrayal of the conflict between the individualist version of the American Dream among immigrants--and the sordid reality they face. When they face it collectively, they are great men and women, in all their splendor. When they face it individually, they become alienated from themselves and each other. Though the DVD is entitled CHRIST IN CONCRETE, it is actually the prequel to the story in the novel. The last horrific scene is the first chapter of the novel, which detail's the life of Geremio's widow, Annunziata, and their son Paul, after Geremio dies. All the actors are great--but I especially like Lea Padavini--who had to learn the part phonetically, because when they hired her, she didn't speak a word of English! I also highly recommend this film
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?