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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

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 John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1988) See more »


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

Huston's 1933 Cuban Revolution
26 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

John Huston directed this 1948 thriller about a group of revolutionaries trying to overthrow the brutal right wing Cuban Regime in 1933 when it was a crime, promulgated by their "parliament", for more than four people to gather in public or criticise its government.

John Garfield (Tony Fenner), stars as the ex-Cuban who comes back from the U.S. to set up the revolution.He meets and is assisted by Jennifer Jones (China Valdez) who gives him active support after her 19 year old student younger brother is gunned down on the steps of his university by the evil secret policeman (Pedro Armendariaz).Tony devises a plot to assassinate the head politico hoping his family and the heads of government and their family attend his funeral at a cemetary near where China and her family live.They decide to dig a tunnel from her house and place explosive under the grave to get the hated government in one fell swoop.At least that's the plan (no spoiler here).

Yet again Jennifer Jones is in a completely new role speaking with a convincing Cuban accent.She works in a bank but cannot escape the attention of the secret police who keep hounding and threatening her for information on Tony Fenner whom she has now grown to love.Assisting them both are a group of committed partisans including Gilbert Roland who plays a simple dock worker (his brother was killed by the government).He steals this picture by his acting and by singing topical calypsos about their revolutionary activities;(I find myself singing these verses or even making up new ones!).Another member "goes off the rails" and nearly gives the game away.

I suppose if you know Cuban modern history you can guess the outcome as Huston has to stick to the facts.The final showdown with Thompson sub-machine guns is almost surreal.This title is hard to find and is not available from main stream video dealers.Occasionally it comes up for auction on "e-Bay".If like me you love quality 1940's films you will enjoy this actioneer.

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