Christopher Emanuel Balestrero, "Manny" to his friends, is a string bassist, a devoted husband and father, and a practicing Catholic. His eighty-five dollar 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. ...Written by
According to a Scientific American Magazine article from 2010, "Since the 1990s, when DNA testing was first introduced, Innocence Project researchers have reported that 73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony. One third of these overturned cases rested on the testimony of two or more mistaken eyewitnesses." (Scientific American, "Why Science Tells Us Not to Rely on Eyewitness Accounts") See more »
When the police book Manny, they fingerprint him, presumably to compare his prints to fingerprints taken from crime scenes; however, taking his fingerprints would be a routine procedure for any suspect being booked regardless of the evidence or other suspected crimes. One piece of evidence the police actually try to use against him is the holdup note that was given to the clerk. If Manny's prints were on the note, he would be proven guilty - case closed; but if not, he would not necessarily be exonerated (the robber may have worn gloves - when he is seen during a later robbery, he generally has his hands in his coat pockets). The police are not seen checking the note for fingerprints, which would likely have already been done due to the robbery having occurred some weeks earlier. Therefore, simply dusting the note for prints and comparing the results to those taken from Manny would not necessarily have solved the whole case, as some viewers might surmise. :) See more »
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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This is a very underrated Hitchcock film that features amazing performances from it's two stars, Henry Fonda and (especially) Vera Miles. It is a sad, cynical offering from the Master Of Suspense that has a familiar theme (the title says it all), yet it also is perhaps one of Hitch's most unusual works.
The films runs more like a documentary in it's approach, and it feels inherently 'real'. The casting of 'everyman' Fonda in the role of Manny Balestero, a man accused of crimes he did not commit, works very well as we can feel empathy for Fonda and place ourselves in his position. Ditto with Miles. She is so convincing in her role as the mentally fragile wife Rose that her scenes are almost uncomfortable to witness. Portraying a person self-destructing is one of the hardest tasks an actor can face, but Miles does it subtly and movingly. It is a brilliant performance that ranks alongside Bergman's role in 'Notorious' and Wright's 'Charlie' in 'Shadow Of A Doubt' for best female acting honors in a Hitchcock film.
'The Wrong Man' has a sentimental, tender yet dark atmosphere. The sentimentality is perhaps due to the fact that the central action revolves around a family grouping in this film.There are no elaborate scenes of courtship and romance as in 'Vertigo' or sexy double entendres seen in 'Notorious'- Instead, we get the feeling that this is a real, normal family we are watching unravel at the seams due to the crimes of another.
Appropriately slow-moving to keep in check with Hitch's low-key approach for this one. New York in the 1950's was possibly never photographed so darkly real as it is here. Boasting great performances from the two leads, this is a must-see Hitchcock.
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