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The Garment Jungle (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 25 April 1957 (USA)
The struggle of a lady's garment workers' organization to unionize a New York clothing sweat shop; the owner of which is determined to keep the union out of his business at any cost.

Directors:

Vincent Sherman, Robert Aldrich (uncredited)

Writers:

Lester Velie (articles), Harry Kleiner (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Lee J. Cobb ... Walter Mitchell
Kerwin Mathews ... Alan Mitchell
Gia Scala ... Theresa Renata
Richard Boone ... Artie Ravidge
Valerie French ... Lee Hackett
Robert Loggia ... Tulio Renata
Joseph Wiseman ... George Kovan
Harold J. Stone ... Tony
Adam Williams ... Ox
Wesley Addy ... Mr. Paul
Willis Bouchey ... Dave Bronson
Robert Ellenstein ... Fred Kenner
Celia Lovsky ... Tulio's Mother
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Storyline

During the 1950s, the New York garment industry is going through a turmoil. On one side, the industry workers want to organize themselves into labor unions that will fight for them in obtaining better wages, better working conditions and other benefits. On the other side, the factory owners and their managers staunchly oppose unionization. At one of the largest garment companies, Roxton Fashions, the owner, Walter Mitchell, is fighting against his workers' wishes to unionize. For the past 15 years, Walter Mitchell has been using the mob muscle in order to protect his company against unions. His gangster friend Artie Ravidge, and his henchmen, provide Walter Mitchell and Roxton Fashions with such protection against union men who agitate the workers into forming their own union locals. This protection includes murder, whenever necessary, to eliminate stubborn union men. Unfortunately, when Walter Mitchell's business partner, Fred Kenner, argues in favor of allowing a union into their ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The whole naked truth about the rackets in New York's garment center!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 April 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Garment Center See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,050,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A good depiction of a "sweat shop" that used the "piece work" method of pay. An employee was paid a very low hourly wage in the "piece work" system that paid by the unit. If the worker made enough "pieces" at a certain rate, they would be paid the higher of the two: the hourly rate or the rate based on the number of pieces they produced. They system encouraged employees to work fast and to not take breaks. The "piece work" system was common across the manufacturing industry until unions put an end to it. See more »

Goofs

The baby that Robert Loggia is holding in the office and hallway of the Dress Union building is different when he enters another room. The first baby is younger with short blondish hair. The other baby is much bigger with longer, blackish hair. See more »

Quotes

Artie Ravidge: A real troublemaker, that one. But don't you worry; this stuff'll move, it'll move. When I get done with him, he won't bother us no more.
Alan Mitchell: What are you going to do?
Artie Ravidge: Never mind. I'm going to educate that Union real good to lay off us.
Alan Mitchell: Dad, are you going to let him...?
Walter Mitchell: What do you want me to do? Give in to them? Let the Union take over? That's what'll happen once they grab hold. With their hours, and benefits, and guarantees... three percent of the payroll for retirement, two percent for health, ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
The Cutting Edge
26 September 2015 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In New York City's garment district, women's dress manufacturer Lee J. Cobb (as Walter Mitchell) argues against allowing employees to join a union. His longtime business partner supports the union and is rewarded with an unfortunate accident. Garment workers who join unions are threatened with a shortened life expediency. This is why Mr. Cobb tells his handsome young son Kerwin Mathews (as Alan Mitchell), back in the US after several years overseas, to look at other employment opportunities. Formerly estranged, Mr. Mathews insists on joining the family business. Mathews soon discovers "Roxton Fashions" is tied up in deadly "protection" from mobster terrorist Richard Boone (as Artie Ravidge) and his goons...

Writer-producer Harry Kleiner reportedly changed directors, from Robert Aldrich, to Vincent Sherman, which may be why this interesting drama doesn't live up to its potential. He does get great black-and-white photography (by Joseph Biroc) and a fine cast. Cobb starts out strong, but confusingly becomes a supporting player. In his best moments, Cobb channels his "On the Waterfront" (1954) role. His character otherwise wavers between indistinct and naive. Consequently, girlfriend Valerie French (as Lee Hackett) gets very little to do. Leading man Matthews receives lackluster introductory scenes, upstaged by Cobb and women who are stripped to their underwear. Mathews gets stronger, but seems left to his own devices...

The real female lead is Gia Scala (as Theresa), as the wife of union organizer Robert Loggia (as Tulio Renata). While also good, she loses spontaneity. One of Mathews and Scala's most memorable scenes is a good example. On a pivotal evening, Matthews, Ms. Scala and her baby stop at a bar. She unbuttons her shirt to breast-feed the baby, but moves to another booth for privacy. After however many rehearsals and retakes, you still have to move around the booths like it's the first time. It's a fine scene, but could have been better. There are also jagged moments; a man enters a room too suddenly, for example, and a banister shakes like it's a prop. While the flaws stand out, much of "The Garment Jungle" fits nicely.

****** The Garment Jungle (1957-04-25) Vincent Sherman ~ Kerwin Mathews, Lee J. Cobb, Gia Scala, Richard Boone


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