IMDb > We Were Strangers (1949)

We Were Strangers (1949) More at IMDbPro »


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Peter Viertel (screenplay) and
John Huston (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for We Were Strangers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 April 1949 (USA) See more »
China Valdes joins the Cuban underground after her brother is killed by the chief of the secret police... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A Coup d'etat in Cuba See more (29 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Jennifer Jones ... China Valdés

John Garfield ... Anthony L. 'Tony' Fenner

Pedro Armendáriz ... Armando Ariete (as Pedro Armendariz)

Gilbert Roland ... Guillermo Montilla

Ramon Novarro ... Chief
Wally Cassell ... Miguel
David Bond ... Ramón Sánchez
José Pérez ... Toto (as Jose Perez)

Morris Ankrum ... Mr. Seymour, Bank Manager
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Abdullah Abbas ... (uncredited)

Mimi Aguglia ... Mama (uncredited)
Salvador Baguez ... Cart Driver (uncredited)

Argentina Brunetti ... Mother (uncredited)
Spencer Chan ... Celebrant (uncredited)
Freddie Chapman ... Altar Boy (uncredited)
Gertrude Chorre ... (uncredited)
Jack Clisby ... Guard (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Contreras's Sister (uncredited)
Fred Godoy ... Vicente Contreras (uncredited)
Lelia Goldoni ... Consuelo Valdés (uncredited)
Herschel Graham ... (uncredited)
Charles Granucci ... (uncredited)
Roberta Haynes ... Lolita Valdés (uncredited)
Ted Hecht ... Enrico (uncredited)
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr. ... (uncredited)

John Huston ... Señor Muñoz (uncredited)
Robert Malcolm ... Priest (uncredited)

Paul Marion ... Truck Driver (uncredited)
Santiago Martínez ... Waiter (uncredited)
Alex McSweyn ... Sanitation Man (uncredited)
Tina Menard ... (uncredited)
Paulo Monte ... Roberto (uncredited)
Alex Montoya ... Chauffeur (uncredited)
Alberto Morin ... First Senator (uncredited)
Alfonso Pedroza ... Sanitation Man (uncredited)

Rodd Redwing ... (uncredited)
Tito Renaldo ... Manolo Valdés (uncredited)
Joel Rene ... Student (uncredited)

Julian Rivero ... Flower Vendor (uncredited)
Edwin Rochelle ... (uncredited)
Joe Sawaya ... (uncredited)
Leonard Strong ... Bombmaker (uncredited)
Robert Tafur ... Rubio (uncredited)
Felipe Turich ... Spy (uncredited)
Harry J. Vejar ... Watchman (uncredited)
Peter Virgo ... Contreras' Chauffeur (uncredited)
Billy Wilson ... (uncredited)
Thomas Quon Woo ... Celebrant (uncredited)

Directed by
John Huston 
Writing credits
Peter Viertel (screenplay) and
John Huston (screenplay)

Robert Sylvester (novel "Rough Sketch")

Produced by
Jules Buck .... associate producer
Sam Spiegel .... producer (as S.P. Eagle)
Original Music by
George Antheil 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Al Clark 
Art Direction by
Cary Odell 
Set Decoration by
Louis Diage 
Makeup Department
Larry Germain .... hair stylist
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Carl Hiecke .... assistant director
Sound Department
Lambert E. Day .... sound engineer (as Lambert Day)
Special Effects by
Lawrence W. Butler .... special scenes
Camera and Electrical Department
Al Becker .... grip (uncredited)
William Coppersmith .... camera operator (uncredited)
Max Nippell .... gaffer (uncredited)
Emil Oster .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Richard Walling .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jean Louis .... costumes: Miss Jones
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
Ernest Gold .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Gladys Hill .... dialogue director
David O. Selznick .... Jennifer Jones by arrangement with
Rose Loewinger .... script supervisor (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

One of the writers, Peter Viertel, wrote a chapter in his book Dangerous Friends about how he and John Huston wrote the screenplay for We Were Strangers, including two weeks in Cuba with Ernest Hemingway. According to Viertel, Hemingway suggested ending the film as it occurred in reality: with the death of the revolutionaries. Instead, an alternative ending was supplied by Ben Hecht.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Subject Was Roses (1968)See more »
We Dig All Day We Dig All NightSee more »


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
A Coup d'etat in Cuba, 4 March 2009
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

The part of a fiery revolutionary in 1933 Cuba seems tailor made for John Garfield. Both his politics and screen persona mesh nicely in the role of Nick Fenner for him in We Were Strangers. As for his lack of Hispanic accent, we are told that he is of mixed Cuban and American parentage. I'm glad Garfield didn't try an accent, he looked downright silly doing one as Porfirio Diaz in Juarez.

John Huston directed We Were Strangers and even second drawer Huston is better than first drawer of most directors. The film is about a really far out plot for a Coup d'etat against President Gerardo Machado of Cuba in 1933. Garfield has sold them one a plan to assassinate the president and his entire cabinet by means of a bomb at a funeral internment. As it happens Jennifer Jones's house is located across from Havana's main cemetery. The idea is to first kill a right-wing Senator and then when the funeral takes place and the deceased is interred at the family mausoleum, to blow up the place as the president and a lot of top bigwigs are sure to attend.

The scheme involves tunneling from Jen's house to the mausoleum and We Were Strangers starts to resemble The Great Escape at this point. Jen's cooperative because her brother was killed by Machado's secret police, but something terribly unforeseen spoils things and the assassins are forced to flee.

In fact the something that is unforeseen should have been foreseen and Garfield should have come up with a better idea. But the drama of this film is the tension of these conspirators working together in close quarters and we the audience getting to know them. We Were Strangers at first, but they all become comrades during the shared experience of conspiracy. Besides John Garfield and Jennifer Jones, the other in the plot are Gilbert Roland, Wally Cassell, and David Bond.

Best performance in the film by far though is that of Pedro Armendariz as the secret police lieutenant. Huston might have seen Armendariz in a similar role in John Ford's The Fugitive which was set in Mexico. It was a good stroke of typecasting then because Armendariz is a truly hateful figure.

I looked up Gerardo Machado who was the president of Cuba at the time and he was overthrown in 1933 but not by these guys. Wikipedia describes him as an equal opportunity tyrant who had all factions hating him by 1933. He started out as a fighter and youngest general in the Cuban war for independence against Spain in the 1890s. But last year's freedom fighter has a way of turning into today's tyrant.

We Were Strangers in the Huston career comes between Key Largo and The Asphalt Jungle, both better films, but this one while the assassination plot is far fetched is carried along by the skilled direction of a fine group of players.

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