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The Wrong Man (1956)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir | 26 January 1957 (USA)
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In 1953, an innocent man named Christopher Emmanuel "Manny" Balestrero is arrested after being mistaken for an armed robber.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Manny Balestrero
... Rose Balestrero
... Frank D. O'Connor
... Det. Lt. Bowers
... Det. Matthews
John Heldabrand ... Tomasini
Esther Minciotti ... Mama Balestrero
Doreen Lang ... Ann James
Laurinda Barrett ... Constance Willis
Norma Connolly ... Betty Todd
... Gene Conforti
Lola D'Annunzio ... Olga Conforti
Kippy Campbell ... Robert Balestrero
Robert Essen ... Gregory Balestrero
Richard Robbins ... Daniel - the Guilty Man
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Storyline

Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero - Manny to his friends - is a string bassist, a devoted husband and father, and a practicing Catholic. His $85 a week gig playing in the jazz combo at the Stork Club is barely enough to make ends meet. The Balestreros' lives will become a little more difficult with the major dental bills his wife Rose will be incurring. As such, Manny decides to see if he can borrow off of Rose's life insurance policy. But when he enters the insurance office, he is identified by some of the clerks as the man that held up the office twice a few months earlier. Manny cooperates with the police as he has nothing to hide. Manny learns that he is a suspect in not only those hold ups, but a series of other hold ups in the same Jackson Heights neighborhood in New York City where they live. The more that Manny cooperates, the more guilty he appears to the police. With the help of Frank O'Connor, the attorney that they hire, they try to prove Manny's innocence. Regardless of if ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An innocent man has nothing to fear! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

26 January 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der falsche Mann  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,000,000, 31 December 1956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock filmed one of his usual cameos, standing in a restaurant as Manny sits, but decided on using a narrated prologue instead. See more »

Goofs

As Rose is being led up the stairs of the mental treatment facility, the shadow of someone's head appears in the bottom left corner behind the lamp. It seems as though someone walked past a bulb. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prologue narrator: This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking. In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures. But this time, I would like you to see a different one. The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it. And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all the fiction that has gone into many of the thrillers that I've made before.
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Connections

Referenced in Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Number Twenty-Two (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disquieting, a steely Fonda, and amazing Hitchcock. But it might make you edgy.
11 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

The Wrong Man (1956)

There's no question Alfred Hitchcock has pulled off something amazing here, a kind of experiment. Entirely based on true events, and without any sense of chase, romance, or high intrigue, and without special effects or even witty dialog, he makes you feel for the main character, Henry Fonda, a man accused of a crime he did not commit.

It's often pointed out that Hitchcock had an enormous fear of the police, and of being accused when innocent. This shows up in many of his films, but never more clearly or more painfully than here. To watch is an adventure in frustration, almost to the point you have to turn it off. But of course, you can't just get up and leave. You have to know what happens.

And the turns of events are so reasonable and yet so unbearable, you just want to get up there and say, do this, do that! It's weird to say, this is not an enjoyable movie. But it's a very good one, maybe flawless in its attempt to trap you as much as the main character was trapped. The surrounding cast is terribly believable, the cops, the wife, the kids. And it unfolds with such dramatic relentlessness. The camera angles (thanks to Robert Burks) are psychologically intense (and edited for discomfort). And the music (Bernard Herrmann, soon to score Psycho) only adds more tension.

Beautifully. As an exercise in precision, and in sticking to the facts, this is as good as a dramatic (non-documentary) film can get. Wikipedia has a small amount of helpful information, and tcm.com has a lot (click on articles or reviews on the left for a range of texts). But of course, watch it straight. See some period New York City scenes (from streets to jails to what looks like the amazing 57th St. bridge at dusk). A wonderful, if not uplifting, movie.


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