House of Strangers

1949

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

11
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 72%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 2029

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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June 26, 2017 at 10:16 AM

Cast

Edward G. Robinson as Gino Monetti
Debra Paget as Maria Domenico
Susan Hayward as Irene Bennett
Richard Conte as Max Monetti
720p 1080p
721.21 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 4 / 26
1.52 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 5 / 36

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

Every once in a while a great film comes along, and is somehow forgotten over a period of time...but is still well worth watching!

Edward G. Robinson played many ethnic types in his career, including sinister Chinese types in THE HATCHET MAN and Greek seamen in TIGER SHARK. But he played many Italian - Americans, mostly involved in criminal activities. Best known is his Rico Bandello in LITTLE CAESAR, but he also did Remy Marko in A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER. And there is the more respectable, but still illegal gentleman in this film, Gino Monetti. Living in the middle of Little Italy in a mansion, Monetti started out as a barber, living in a single room with his wife Theresa (Esther Minciotti), and his four sons. They grow up to be Joe (Luther Adler), Max (Richard Conte), Tony (Efrem Zimberlist Jr.), and Pietro (Paul Valentine).

Monetti's views of his Italian heritage and his adopted land's culture are mixed. He loves the music of his homeland - he's frequently playing opera (Rossini's THE BARBER OF SEVILLE sung by Lawrence Tibbett is heard at one point on his record player). He does have a sense of tradition: every Wednesday Theresa cooks a big dinner for the family, and everyone has to come (including Max's fiancé Maria Domenico - Debra Paget - and her mother Helena Domenico - Hope Emerson - and Joe's wife Elena - Diana Douglas). Gino will talk about how different life in America is, where a man does not have to forever be in the same job as his father, or where cities grow upward due to skyscrapers. But he treats three of his sons as servants. Joe, who is his oldest, is asked to scrub Gino's back in the bathtub, or has to chauffeur his father around, and is only a clerk in the bank (although called first Vice President). Pietro is referred to as "dumb-head" because he likes to work on a boxing career rather than an office job. Tony is a lady's man, always quiet and well dressed, and dismissed by his father as a weakling. Only Max has gained the old man's respect - he became an attorney (and a pretty good one).

The bank itself is a mixed concern. When Frank Puglia asks for a $150.00 loan to buy a horse, he only gets $120.00 as $30.00 is taken off the top as interest on the new loan (later the loan has escalated to being $280.00). A poor woman needing money, however, gets the money without any interest being given. It later develops that Gino is lousy with bookkeeping, and resents government interest in his bank, but he is an intelligent banker, on the whole a decent guy, but he occasionally turns into a usurer.

Max, although engaged to Maria, meets a socialite named Irene Bennett (Susan Hayward), who initially hires him to help an ex-boyfriend who robbed her. They gradually get into an affair, which threatens the engagement to Maria. Hayward's jealousy eventually leads to a break in it. At just that time, government actions close the bank and lead to a trial for Gino on serious fraud charges. Max tries to defend him, but he finds Gino too hot-tempered on the witness stand. He talks about the case with Joe (who is not too interested in whether the old man goes to jail or not), and says that possibly if they bribe a juror they can save Gino. Joe refuses to help. Max tries to bribe the juror, but finds himself arrested instead. It results in his disbarment and seven years in prison. Gino is not sent to prison, but finds the bank reorganized by Joe, Tony, and Pietro, and he is put out to pasture. Still Gino encourages hatred in Max to his brothers, pointing out that Joe probably tipped off the police about the bribery attempt.

So Max leaves prison to confront his three siblings, and to see if he can resume life with Irene. And Joe, Tony (who has married Maria), and Pietro wonder if Max is going to be a troublemaker.

The film captured an aspect of life on the lower East side rarely shown in films - how did banks work in those immigrant enclaves? This was before major banks had branches around the cities, and small local banks (like Monetti's) were common. And were run in the same haphazard manner until the Depression made the government take a closer look. The film, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, crackles with good dialog (and steamy lines too - particularly between Conte and Hayward). Robinson's Gino is memorable - not a really bad man, but one who forgot certain simple family rules regarding his sons. Even minor characters have good moments: Hope Emerson's fury at Conte's flaunting his affair with Hayward leads to a confrontation scene, and the dinner at the Monetti's reveals how Diana Douglas (Kirk's wife) is a non-Italian mainliner that Luther Adler married, who barely likes her in-laws (she can't stand spaghetti dinners, and wants him to have a promised raise so she can entertain HER friends). It is a rewarding movie about social mobility and it's pitfalls in the urban immigrant circles.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

Little Caesar Owning a Bank

Try and imagine Little Caesar getting out of the rackets and taking his hard stolen loot and setting up a bank. Then Mr. Bandello marries and has four sons.

You've got Gino Monetti who now that he's no longer terrorizing citizens confines his terrors to his own family. He's got four grown sons and he treats them like the hired help. All except Richard Conte who instead of working for him directly at the bank uses the bank's space for his law office.

I think that's the key to this film. The other three sons Luther Adler, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Paul Valentine all do work for him and he can treat them like dirt. Conte on the other hand, does not work for him, he's made his own career. By Robinson's logic, he's earned a certain amount of respect.

So he pits them against each other. Unfortunately Robinson's banking practices which are not exactly legal catch up with him. He's forced to turn the bank over to the three sons in an effort to save the bank.

Conte also tries to bribe a juror to save dear old Dad and gets disbarred and a stretch of seven years in prison for his troubles. Conte's out now and looking to even things up with his siblings.

Robinson who's played all kinds of immigrants of many nationalities has covered the Italian ground before. But he's real good as the scheming, sadistic patriarch who in fact gets a deserved comeuppance from his sons. All four sons are fine in their roles with Richard Conte and Luther Adler deserving particular attention.

Susan Hayward is the girl who waits for Conte. She must be in love with him. A disbarred attorney isn't exactly a dream prospect. She was just entering into the height of her career and this role was a career boost.

House of Strangers is far superior to the western setting remake that 20th Century Fox did five years later entitled Broken Lance

Reviewed by Claudio Carvalho 10 / 10

Never Forgive, Never Forget

In New York, after seven years in prison, the lawyer Max Monetti (Richard Conte) goes to the bank of his brothers Joe (Luther Adler), Tony (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and Pietro Monetti (Paul Valentine) and promises revenge to them. Then he visits his lover Irene Bennett (Susan Hayward) that asks him to forget the past and start a new life.

Max recalls the early 30's, when he is the favorite son of his father Gino Monetti (Edward G. Robinson), 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 (Debra Paget). 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".

"House of Strangers" is a magnificent film-noir by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with a great story of hatred and forgiveness. Edward G. Robinson has one of his best performances (if not the best) and wins the Best Actor award in the 1949 Cannes Film Festival. Richard Conte has one of his best roles (if not the best) in his well-succeeded career. Susan Hayward is very beautiful and elegant and performs a strong female character. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

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