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We Were Strangers (1949)

Approved | | Adventure, Romance, Drama | 27 April 1949 (USA)
1932. The tyrannical and despotic government of President Machado has headed Cuba for seven years. The latest measure of that tyranny is the outlawing of public gatherings of more than four... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
China Valdés
Tony Fenner
Armando Ariete (as Pedro Armendariz)
Ramón Sánchez
José Pérez ...
Toto (as Jose Perez)
Mr. Seymour


1932. The tyrannical and despotic government of President Machado has headed Cuba for seven years. The latest measure of that tyranny is the outlawing of public gatherings of more than four people, such acts the government deeming treasonous. China Valdés, a young woman who works in an American bank in Havana, is generally non-political. However, she decides to join the revolutionary forces to avenge the murder of her activist brother Manolo - a murder she witnessed - at the hands of the government, the trigger pulled by a police officer she will eventually learn is named Armando Ariete. Her goal is to kill Ariete. Another of the revolutionaries, an American entertainment promoter named Tony Fenner, convinces her to hold off on her assassination, as he believes he has come up with a plan that can wipe out all the major government leaders in one fell swoop. Along with China and Tony, the Chief of the revolutionaries amasses a team of four non-related men - Guillermo, Ramón, Miguel and ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

27 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rough Sketch  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$900,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Huston wanted a then almost-unknown Marilyn Monroe for a part in this movie. He made it about Cuban rebels at the time Monroe had a contract with Columbia. But producer Sam Spiegel didn't want to spend money for a screen test of Monroe. See more »


This story is set in Cuba, a Spanish speaking country; however, the check that China presents at the bank is in English: TWO THOUSAND PESOS. See more »


Referenced in The Subject Was Roses (1968) See more »


We Dig All Day We Dig All Night
Performed by Gilbert Roland
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User Reviews

Amazingly radical, pro-revolutionary Hollywood film
5 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

This has to be the most radical, left wing film ever made in Hollywood. It is amazing that Huston and some of the other principals were not blacklisted afterwords; the McCarthy era was well underway in 1949 when the film was released. (Garfield was blacklisted, but not as a result of this particular film.)

This is a taut, suspenseful, exciting movie. But what stands out for me is that the central theme and focus of the story is the "need" to dedicate one's life to the overthrow of a dictatorship by whatever means necessary. I've never seen an American film so uncompromisingly pro-revolutionary. The heros of the film are guerrilla warriors planning a bombing that will kill dozens or hundreds of innocents along with lots of deserving government officials.

One significant drawback to this film is it's very extensive use of process photography, shooting the principal actors against background film shot on location. Whole scenes are shot this way and it's distracting.

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