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Never Love a Stranger (1958)

Following the life of an orphan and the events that change his life and lead him into a life of crime.



(screenplay), (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
Francis 'Frankie' Kane
Julie Cabell
'Silk' Fennelli
Martin Cabell
Salem Ludwig ...
Moishe Moscowitz
Douglas Rodgers ...
Brother Bernard
Felice Orlandi ...
Augusta Merighi ...
Mrs. Cozzolina
Vincent Barbi ...
(as Vince Barbi)
Abe Simon ...
'Fats' Crown
Frances Kane (as Dolores Vitina)


Frankie Kane is brought up in a Catholic orphanage and befriends Martin Cabell, a Jewish law student whose sister Julie becomes Frankie's sweetheart. At sixteen, Frankie learns that he is himself Jewish and therefore has to be moved to a Jewish home. That prospect proves so awful that he runs away - and goes bad. Years later, he returns to the district and gets involved with a crime syndicate that his old pal Martin, now assistant district attorney, has pledged to clean up. Frankie however, bumps in to Julie again and, finding he still loves her, decides to help the straight-shooting Martin smash the syndicate. Written by alfiehitchie

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RAW and VIOLENT as the book that sold 3,000,000 SIZZLING copies!


Crime | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

22 June 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Autopsia di un gangster  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening scene of the movie (the scene is titled on-screen as "New York 1912"), Frances Kane is shown walking down a city street toward the midwife's home. In the far background to the left is the rear of a parked car from the 1950s. See more »


Referenced in Steve McQueen: The King of Cool (1998) See more »


Oh Baby
Music by Raymond Scott
Lyrics by Lawrence Elow
See more »

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User Reviews

A great title that has nothing to do with this middling movie not about being a Jew in New York
8 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Never Love a Stranger (1958)

You might be most impressed by the early appearance of Steve McQueen, who shows a spark and intensity that makes him rise above the rest of the cast, who are really rather good in all. It says something about star power, which isn't all smoke and mirrors. You might also get a kick that the leading male (McQueen is secondary) is played by John Drew Barrymore, son of the famous John and father of the famous Drew. Sadly, this man of the generation in the middle was troubled and had a mixture of leading roles, never achieving greatness or fame.

If the plot is a familiar one about two slum kids in New York growing up into opposite roles, one a thug, the other the area's district attorney (there are several of these films), there is another theme that makes the movie singular. That is the issue of being Jewish, and at times downright anti-Semitism, though handled with kid gloves. The fighting between Catholic boys and the one Jewish kid (McQueen) is standard clan rivalry, with a religious twist. But when the other character, raised in a Catholic orphanage, discovers he is actually Jewish, his first reaction is rebellion. And the movie carries this theme throughout, adding a good if forced second level to work with.

I'm not sure it matters, but it's interesting, at least, that McQueen and Barrymore are both not Jewish as far as I know (McQueen in particular doesn't fit the stereotypes, but that's probably okay by itself), nor was the director, Robert Stevens the American (as opposed to the more famous Robert Stevens the Brit). Even more interesting, the book the movie draws from was written by Harold Robbins, whose parents were Jewish immigrants, but when he was a child he claimed (falsely) to have been raised in a Roman Catholic orphanage. For whatever reason, then, the theme is handled with a kind of detachment that makes it odd, and not nearly as affecting as, say, some of the European films that really attack the issue of "passing" for Goy when the Nazi rampage was on (Louis Malle's "Au revoir les enfants" possibly the best). The Barrymore character never does quite accept of address his heritage.

Now to be clear, the movie lacks a directorial touch to keep it alive and pertinent. It's a decent if uninspired effort, but the exceptions will make it worth a close look for some.

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