7.2/10
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47 user 21 critic

The Damned Don't Cry (1950)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 May 1950 (USA)
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A New York socialite climbs the ladder of success man by man until a life among rich gangsters gives her what she thought she always wanted.

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writers:

Harold Medford (screenplay), Jerome Weidman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Crawford ... Ethel Whitehead (Lorna Hansen Forbes)
David Brian ... George Castleman (Joe Caveny)
Steve Cochran ... Nick Prenta
Kent Smith ... Martin Blackford
Hugh Sanders ... Grady
Selena Royle ... Patricia Longworth
Jacqueline deWit ... Sandra
Morris Ankrum ... Jim Whitehead
Edith Evanson ... Mrs. Castleman
Richard Egan ... Roy
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Storyline

The murder of gangster Nick Prenta touches off an investigation of mysterious socialite Lorna Hansen Forbes, who seems to have no past, and has now disappeared. In flashback, we see the woman's anonymous roots; her poor working-class marriage, which ends in tragedy and her determination to find "better things." Soon finding that sex appeal is her only salable commodity, she climbs from man to man toward the center of a nationwide crime syndicate...a very perilous position. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Call me CHEAP?" Nothing's Cheap When You Pay the Price She's Paying! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 May 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Victim See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,233,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Kent Smith's character's name is actually "Blackford". Goes well with Joan Crawford's name, "Whitehead". (Note the spelling on his new office door, not to mention the pronunciation of his name). See more »

Quotes

Sandra: I'm gettin' myself a new partner!
Ethel Whitehead: You should get yourself a couple of other new items, if you'll pardon the expression.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Make Love with a Guitar
(uncredited)
Music by María Grever
Played by the band at Grady's
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"He's promised me the world, Marty, and I've got to have it."
17 October 2010 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

Take the old true-confession formula, stylize it with some panache and crown it with gangster violence. For here we have crime and its pay presented in the old recognizable blueprint of invented realism. Here we have Crawford playing a discouraged blue-collar worker's wife who leaves her despondent situation for a high and mighty calling, working up in a gangland milieu to the position of elegant lady to an important gang boss and then collapsing back to roots when a mob war eliminates her man.

Crawford runs the gamut of affected behavior in her latter-day hard-edged, unsmiling fashion. As a manual worker's spouse, she plays it without make-up and with her face deeply oiled. As a cigar-store clerk and clothes model, she plays it gristly, speaking the tough guy's line and looking the simple men directly and callously in the face. And as the eventually sophisticated lady she gives it all the superior stateliness that goes with champagne buckets and Palm Springs swimming pools.

Nevertheless, the men who support her run her a very close race. David Brian as the prevailing bigwig crime boss appears and behaves like the urban rogue in bucolic traveling sideshows. When he comes to a line such as this one, "I like a woman who has brains, but when she also has spirit, that excites me," he practically ends it with a lusty snigger. And Kent Smith, as a public accountant whom Crawford ensnares in the syndicate, plays a milquetoast so absolutely that his entire performance seems a train of nervous swallows. Steve Cochran as a cunning West Coast heavy and Selena Royle as a vagrant socialite do their jobs in a standard B-story, A-budget way.

Then again, as with countless crime dramas and film noir of the era, thematic images slip their way into the story through the deliberate compositions that connect to the sleight of hand of your psyche. And the story is absorbing owing to its appeal to the B-side of its characters, and its awareness that the bigger the schism from one part of a character's life to another, the more dramatic the story. And it's fun to watch Crawford and her male co-stars tackle the psychology.


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