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In New York, after seven years in prison, the lawyer Max Monetti goes to the bank of his brothers Joe, Tony and Pietro Monetti and promises revenge to them. Then he visits his lover Irene Bennett that asks him to forget the past and start a new life. Max recalls the early 30s, when he is the favorite son of his father Gino Monetti, who has a bank in the East Side. Gino is a tyrannical and egocentric self-made man that raises his family in an environment of hatred and Max is a competent lawyer engaged with Maria Domenico. When Max meets the confident Irene, he has a troubled love affair with her. In 1933, with the new Banking Act reaches Gino for misapplication of funds. Max plots a plan to help his father but is betrayed by his brothers. Now Max will see his brothers that have also being raised under the motto "Never Forgive, Never Forget".Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to Kenneth L. Geist's biography of the film's director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, People Will Talk, the film's producer Sol Siegel hired Philip Yordan to adapt Joseph Weidman's novel for the screen. After Yordan submitted three-quarters of the script, Siegel, finding the script unacceptable, fired him and asked Mankiewicz to redo the script. Mankiewicz rewrote all of Yordan's dialogue, reshaped the script and finished it. The Screen Writers Guild ruled that Yordan receive sole story credit and that Yordan and Mankiewicz share credit for the screenplay. Mankiewicz refused to share credit for a screenplay he had basically written and so received no credit. The studio remade House of Strangers as a western in 1954 as Broken Lance and Yordan was given credit for the story and won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. As Yordan's filmography shows, he was a prolific front in the 1950s for screenwriters who were blacklisted. And so, it seems oddly fitting that he received his only Academy Award for a film (Broken Lance) that he did not work on that was based on a screenplay to which his contribution is a matter of dispute. See more »
In flashbacks dating back to 1932, Irene wears hairstyles and clothing that are not significantly different from the fashionable look she sports during the 1939 framing story, 7 years later, and all of which are strictly in the significantly different mode of 1949, the year the film was made. See more »
This is one of those well-crafted films from Twentieth-Century Fox when that studio employed some extraordinary talents both before and behind the cameras. Although he wasn't a Fox contractee, Edward G. Robinson gives a great performance as a wealthy Italian family's patriarch and he is well-matched by everyone else in the cast, especially Richard Conte, Luther Adler, and Susan Hayward, looking terrifically classy. The script bears some obvious signs of being polished by the director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and the technical credits are absolutely top-drawer.
Remade as a Western in CinemaScope and Color by DeLuxe in 1954, entitled "Broken Lance" with Spencer Tracy cast as the domineering father, the direction by Edward Dmytryk was not up to the standard of this earlier film with its then contemporary setting. This one is available on video (and seems to be very rarely exhumed on TV now) and is definitely worth a look.
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