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
Manny Balestrero was the subject of an episode of the long-running game show, To Tell the Truth (1956). The episode aired on January 15, 1957. Only two of the four panelists guessed correctly. This was four years after the incident at the insurance office. See more »
Twice when Manny enters the house, it may seem that he has left the door open. The first time he enters, he makes a slight closing motion and a click is heard, but the door is not seen closing due to the camera's position blocking such a view; obviously, the viewer is to presume that the camera is not present and that the door was closed out of view. 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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Based pretty much on the actual events & people of a miscarriage of justice that took place in Queens County, New York in the early 50's. The names of most of the people who took part in the event are unchanged in the movie and the location shots where the actual events took place add a touch of dark realism to the movie. The basic plot revolves around a musician who worked at the world famous Stork Club who was mis-identified by witnesses and arrested because he resembled an armed robber. Hitchcock dwells on the slow descent into helplessness and powerlessness that a citizen endures as he wends his way through the NYC (or any other) criminal justice meat grinder. There are chilling shots of his transport , by paddy wagon, into the Ridgewood Felony court and the Long Island City House of Detention. The lawyer he hired, Frank O'Connor, (his real name) went on to become District Attorney of Queens county and was later heavily involved in the infamous Kitty Genovese case. Not your typical Hitchcock film but one well worth seeing if for no other reason than to see one of Henry Fonda's better performances as the quietly stunned Christopher Emmanuel (Manny) Balestrero who sees his life, career and family endangered by forces he has little control over.
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