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Wrong Man
     

The Wrong Man

4.0 4
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle

 

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Director Alfred Hitchcock lets us know from the outset that The Wrong Man is a painfully true story and not one of his customary fabricated suspense yarns, through the simple expedient of walking before the camera and telling us as much (this introductory appearance replaced his planned cameo role as a nightclub patron). The real-life protagonist, musican

Overview

Director Alfred Hitchcock lets us know from the outset that The Wrong Man is a painfully true story and not one of his customary fabricated suspense yarns, through the simple expedient of walking before the camera and telling us as much (this introductory appearance replaced his planned cameo role as a nightclub patron). The real-life protagonist, musican Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, is played by Henry Fonda. Happily married and gainfully employed at the Stork Club, Balestrero's life takes a disastrous turn when he goes to an insurance office, hoping to borrow on his wife's (Vera Miles) life insurance policy in order to pay her dental bills. One of the girls in the office spots Balestrero, identifying him as the man who robbed the office a day or so earlier. This, and a few scattered bits of circumstantial evidence, lead to Balestrero's arrest. Though he's absolutely innocent, he can offer no proof of his whereabouts the day of the crime. Lawyer Frank O'Connor (Anthony Quayle) does his best to help his client, but he's up against an indifferent judicial system that isn't set up to benefit the "little man." Meanwhile, Balestrero's wife becomes emotionally unhinged, leading to a complete nervous breakdown. As Balestrero prays in his cell, his image is juxtaposed onto the face of the actual criminal-who looks nothing like the accused man! Utilizing one of his favorite themes-the helplessness of the innocent individual when confronted by the faceless bureaucracy of the Law-Hitchcock weaves a nightmarish tale, all the more frightening because it really happened (the film's best moment: Fonda looking around the nearly empty courtroom during his arraignment, realizing that the rest of the world cares precisely nothing about his inner torment). Hitch enhances the film's versimilitude by shooting in the actual locations where the real story occured. His only concession to Hollywood formula was the half-hearted coda, assuring us that Mrs. Balestrero eventually recovered from her mental collapse (she sure doesn't look any too healthy the last time we see her!) Watch for uncredited appearances by Harry Dean Stanton, Bonnie Franklin, Tuesday Weld and Charles Aidman.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Alfred Hitchcock's effort to remain true to fact-based source material is the only thing that prevents this gritty picture from rising above his middle-tier thrillers. Based on a story Hitchcock found in Life magazine, The Wrong Man is a pseudo-documentary version of the director's favorite theme: an innocent man blamed for a crime. Henry Fonda stars as the poor guy who finds himself the prime suspect in a series of robberies. The actor is solid in the role, but co-star Vera Miles (who later appeared in Hitchcock's Psycho) steals the show in the tragic role of Fonda's wife, who cracks under the stress of the false accusation and must be committed. The Wrong Man was a critical hit, but a commercial failure, and it would have benefited significantly if Hitchcock had taken some dramatic license to fire up the film's final act. Instead, the director went strictly for authenticity, going so far as to cast lesser-known actors and even people who were actually involved in the real-life case. He also shot many scenes on-location in Queens and Manhattan. The mental institution scenes were lensed in the actual building with the real doctors playing themselves. Bernard Herrmann's biting score adds a terrific additional dimension to the suspense -- as it does in every picture he collaborated on with Hitchcock. The director's cameo comes in the form of an introduction to the story that is reminiscent of his appearances at the opening of his TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He shot a more discreet cameo that would have been placed in the film's opening reel, but it was cut to avoid detracting from the film's documentary feel.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/26/2016
UPC:
0888574369224
Original Release:
1956
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:45:00
Sales rank:
8,564

Special Features

Making-of documentary Guilt Trip: Hitchcock and The Wrong Man; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero (Manny)
Vera Miles Rose Balestrero
Anthony Quayle Frank O'Connor
Harold J. Stone Lt. Bowers
Charles Cooper Matthews, a detective
John Heldabrand Tomasini
Richard Robbins Daniel, the guilty man
Esther Minciotti Manny's Mother
Doreen Lang Ann James
Laurinda Barrett Constance Willis
Norma Connolly Betty Todd
Nehemiah Persoff Gene Conforti
Lola D'Annunzio Olga Conforti
Kippy Campbell Robert Balestrero
Robert Essen Gregory Balestrero
Dayton Lummis Judge Groat
Frances Reid Mrs. O'Connor
Peggy Webber Miss Dennerly
Bonnie Franklin Giggly Girl
Harry Stanton Correction Officer
John Caler Soldier
Mike Keene Actor
Maurice Wells Department of Correction Officer
Ray Bennett Policeman
Charles Aidman Jail Medical Attendant
John Vivyan Detective Holman
John Stephen Stork Club Customer
John C. Becher Liquor Store Proprietor
Henry Beckman Prisoner
Paul Bryar Interrogation Officer
Paul Carr Young Man
Chris Gampel Department of Correction Guard
Will Hare McKaba
Alexander Lockwood Emmerton
Allan Ray Suspect
Anna Karen Miss Duffield
Barry Atwater Mr. Bishop
Clarence Straight Policeman
Mary Boylan Curious Customer
Olga Fabian Mrs. Mank
Werner Klemperer Dr. Banay
Otto Simanek Mr. Mank
Daniel Ocko Felony Court Judge
David Kelly Policeman
Dan Terranova Mr. Ferraro
Don McGovern Waving Man
Don Turner Detective
Donald May Arresting Patrolman
John Truax Suspect
Tuesday Weld Giggly Girl
William Le Massena Sang
Emerson Treacy Mr. Wendon
Walter Kohler Manny's Felony Court Attorney
Maurice Manson District Attorney
Silvio Minciotti Mr. Balestrero
Pat Morrow Young Girl
Penny Santon Spanish Woman
Gordon B. Clark Police Attendant
William Hudson Police Lieutenant from the 110th precinct
John R. McKee Police Attendant

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director,Producer
Maxwell Anderson Original Story,Screenwriter
Gordon Bau Makeup
Robert Burks Cinematographer
Herbert Coleman Associate Producer
Earl Crain Sound/Sound Designer
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
William L. Kuehl Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Angus MacPhail Screenwriter
Daniel McCauley Asst. Director
Frank O'Connor Consultant/advisor
Paul Sylbert Art Director
George Tomasini Editor

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The Wrong Man 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
unlike his other films, alfred hitchcock's the wrong man is an unbelievably true story about a man who is arrested for a crime he didn't commit. soon, all the clues point to him, and his wife is driven to madness. suspenseful stuff, and sometimes creepy, because it shows the experience of being in a small, dark jail cell. tragic, but very good.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
Favorable: truly a eye opener about the law, and how justice is delivered. The movie begins on January 14, 1953. Christopher Emanuel Balestrero, the protagonist, is considered guilty until proven innocent; you know, just the opposite of what the law says, "Innocent until proven guilty." While trying to prove his innocence, the tension and rage inside Manny builds; and with each twist and turn he is feeling at a lost and his wife Rose begins to feel hopeless. This storyline has plenty of drama, tension, and pulls on your emotions. Keeps you in suspense and draws the viewer into this genuinely frightening dilemma.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago