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House of Strangers (1949)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 July 1949 (USA)
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After years in prison, Max promises revenge on his brothers for their betrayal. His lover Irene and memories of his past yield him a broader perspective.

Writers:

Philip Yordan (screenplay), Jerome Weidman (novel)
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Gino Monetti
Susan Hayward ... Irene Bennett
Richard Conte ... Max Monetti
Luther Adler ... Joe Monetti
Paul Valentine ... Pietro Monetti
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Tony Monetti
Debra Paget ... Maria Domenico
Hope Emerson ... Helena Domenico
Esther Minciotti Esther Minciotti ... Theresa Monetti
Diana Douglas ... Elaine Monetti
Tito Vuolo ... Lucca
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A powerhouse of emotion.


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

1 July 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

East Side Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Ocean Park, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of three movies written by screenwriter Philip Yordan, based on the novel, "I'll Never Go Home Again," by Jerome Weidman. The other two were Broken Lance (1954), with Spencer Tracy (for which Yordan won an Oscar for Best Story), and The Big Show (1961) with Esther Williams and Cliff Robertson. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Max Monetti: Always looking for a new way to get hurt from a new man. Get smart, there hasn't been a new man since Adam.
See more »

Connections

Featured in This Is Us: What Now? (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
(uncredited)
From the opera 'Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)"
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Played after Pietro changes the record on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

Great story, powerful acting, terrific filming, nicely felt...
22 July 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

House of Strangers (1949)

At first this film feels like a forced fit, a good and big idea that was going to stumble over itself. Because there was a brilliant Edward G. Robinson (a Jewish American) playing a terrific old school Italian banker, and there were his four sons, each with something of a developed plot line. It begins in the present, goes back to the start of the various problems between them, then returns to the present. It's complicated in a way, and yet it ends up cohering well. The story holds water, the actors are superb (more on that), and the overall direction and construction (photography and editing) are spot on.

So we end up with a very impressive movie, and one that uses worn ideas and makes them fresh enough to last. Robinson is not in the end the main character, but one of the sons is, Max, played by Richard Conte. Now Conte is not to everyone's taste. There's something conceited about him even when he's playing a regular guy. But he's just right for this part of the "good brother" who is also a lawyer and who gets drawn into major mischief by his father's bullheadedness. And Conte is the key to an important other thread to the story (and in some ways the best part), his falling in love with a young and independent Irene Bennett played by Susan Hayward. She isn't just a love interest but she represents an alternative to his family bound, very Italian-American world.

Of the other brothers, the eldest played by Luther Adler is the most caustic and believable, giving a stunning performance in just a few scenes throughout the movie. The other brothers are simpler types, and they work, too. In fact, it's only when you drift to the farther reaches of the cast, like the fiancée and her mother, do you find caricatures that strain. In all the dynamic of a group of men adjusting (or not) to the ways of the new worlds is fascinating. Throw in a physically imposing and sharp tongued leading man in Robinson and you can see how much this has going for it.

The director is Joseph L. Mankiewicz has a handful of very sensitively made films among the mere twenty in his career (including "All about Eve"), and this is one of his best. He keeps the plot coherent and yet lets it breath. The characters have enough individuality to distinguish themselves without getting us distracted with peripheral stuff. And the camera-work by Milton Krasner is flawless and subtle. This again comes at the slick and yet artful high point in American black and white cinematography, the 1940s.


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