1956    Crime based on true story

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    • Henry Fonda Christopher Emmanuel “Manny” Balestrero
    • Vera Miles Rose Balestrero
    • Anthony Quayle Frank O'Connor
    • Harold J Stone Lieutenant Bowers
    • Esther Minciotti Mrs Balestrero
    • Charles Cooper Detective Matthews
    • Nehemiah Persoff Gene Conforti
    • Laurinda Barrett Constance Willis
    • Norma Connolly Betty Todd
    • Doreen Lang Ann James
    • Frances Reid Mrs O'Connor
    • Lola D'Annunzio Olga Conforti
    • Robert Essen Gregory Balestrero
    • Kippy Campbell Robert Balestrero


  • Dir/Prod:
  • Scr:
      Maxwell Anderson, Angus MacPhail, from the non-fiction book The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero by Angus MacPhail
  • Ph:
      Robert Burks
  • Ed:
      George Tomasini
  • Mus:
      Bernard Herrmann
  • Art Dir:
      Paul Sylbert, William L. Kuehl




    [ t h e   w r o n g   m a n  : m o v i e  r e v i e w ]

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    Rated: dvd

      This grim and disturbing film meant so much to Hitchcock that he made it without salary. It does deserve to be better known for Hitch draws upon real-life drama to to make this gripping piece of realism [from the Life magazine story The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero by Maxwell Anderson]. He builds the case of a NY Stork Club musician falsely accused of a series of hold-ups to a powerful climax, the events providing the director a field day in his art of characterization and suspense.

      Subject here is Manny Balestrero, the bass fiddle player whose story hit Gotham headlines in 1953 when he was arrested for crimes he did not commit. In a case of mistaken identity, he was not freed until the actual culprit was found during his trial. Not, however, before the musician, a family man with a wife and two young sons, went through the harrowing ordeal of being unable to prove his innocence.

      Hitchcock drains the dramatic possibilities with often frightening overtones, as the spectator comes to realize that the very same could happen to him, if he fell into such a situation. The musician, played with a stark kind of impersonation by Fonda, is positively identified by several of the hold-up victims, and other circumstances arise which seem to prove his guilt.

      Fonda is superbly believable in the title role, suggesting genuine puzzlement and dismay, and Vera Miles — Hitch cast her after being impressed by her performance in the Revenge episode of his TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents — is a revelation as the wife who can't handle the situation. Only distinguished English thespian Anthony Quayle seems out of place in a role that needed an American actor. This is one role where an English luvvy is not required and the reason why the film doesn't get stars.

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