A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
In New York, after seven years in prison, the lawyer Max Monetti goes to the bank of his brothers Joe, Tony and Pietro Monetti and promises revenge to them. Then he visits his lover Irene Bennett that asks him to forget the past and start a new life. Max recalls the early 30s, when he is the favorite son of his father Gino Monetti, who has a bank in the East Side. Gino is a tyrannical and egocentric self-made man that raises his family in an environment of hatred and Max is a competent lawyer engaged with Maria Domenico. When Max meets the confident Irene, he has a troubled love affair with her. In 1933, with the new Banking Act reaches Gino for misapplication of funds. Max plots a plan to help his father but is betrayed by his brothers. Now Max will see his brothers that have also being raised under the motto "Never Forgive, Never Forget".Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to Kenneth L. Geist's biography of the film's director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, People Will Talk, the film's producer Sol Siegel hired Philip Yordan to adapt Joseph Weidman's novel for the screen. After Yordan submitted three-quarters of the script, Siegel, finding the script unacceptable, fired him and asked Mankiewicz to redo the script. Mankiewicz rewrote all of Yordan's dialogue, reshaped the script and finished it. The Screen Writers Guild ruled that Yordan receive sole story credit and that Yordan and Mankiewicz share credit for the screenplay. Mankiewicz refused to share credit for a screenplay he had basically written and so received no credit. The studio remade House of Strangers as a western in 1954 as Broken Lance and Yordan was given credit for the story and won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. As Yordan's filmography shows, he was a prolific front in the 1950s for screenwriters who were blacklisted. And so, it seems oddly fitting that he received his only Academy Award for a film (Broken Lance) that he did not work on that was based on a screenplay to which his contribution is a matter of dispute. See more »
At 2:00, Max approaches the front door of the Monetti Trust and Loan building. A young woman wearing a beret and a vertically-striped jacket steps out of the door, makes a right turn (from Max's perspective), and continues to walk until she disappears into the right side of the frame. 15 seconds later, the same woman is seen walking in front of the same building--again from Max's left to to his right--as if she had never been inside. See more »
"House of Strangers" features three of my all-time favorite actors--Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward and Richard Conte--all at the very top of their form, as well as moody, almost noirish direction by the great Joseph L. Mankiewicz, in moody black and white. Those ingredients alone should indicate that a fine work is in store for the viewer, and such, happily, is the case here. The tale is told mainly in flashback, in which we learn how the four sons of Lower East Side banker Edward G. became enemies after their Pop got into some legal trouble. Susan Hayward, never more beautiful, plays a high-class dame who becomes involved with lawyer Conte, despite Conte's engagement to a proper Italian girl from "the old country." The relationship between Hayward and Conte is very adult for the restrictive late '40s. By the film's end, we really come to care about these two and hope that they can survive as a couple. As usual, Edward G. gives a bravura performance, this time as the domineering patriarch of his Italian clan. I believe his performance received a well-deserved award at Cannes that year. Conte and Hayward, both of whose careers are ripe for reevaluation and rediscovery, match him every step of the way. Luther Adler is fine also, in his role as Conte's elder brother, who feels he never got the respect he deserved. Deborah Paget, in one of her earliest parts, looks fine in a decorative role. For me, though, the main lure of this picture is the triumvirate of superb acting by the three leads. What a pleasure it is to watch these three great talents do justice to the well-written script here. I just love this movie, and suspect that a real treat is in store for the first-time viewer. Check it out, by all means!
26 of 38 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this