Cry of the City (1948)

US 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives DVD



Text below written 2016-09-21


A great but unjustly forgotten Film Noir crime-drama directed by ex-german Master, Robert "The Spiral Staircase/
Phantom Lady/The Killers" Siodmak, where Richard Conte shines as the fugitive cop killer Martin Rome.
This fine Noir is filmed on the actual streets of New York and with mostly natural street sounds on the audio track
and in that way Cry of the City feels modern and must have been a bit before it's time, and one wonders how a film
directed by an artist like Siodmak can be so forgotten it's released on a Cinema Archives Made on Demand DVD,
when much lesser films are presented in regular editions?

2 old buddies - Not!

When this film starts Martin Rome (Richard Conte, left in pic above) is already in a hospital ward, injured with some
bullet holes in his leg after a robbery going wrong, and he's now a cop killer after shooting a policeman.
So, the future for Martin looks bleak with a possible execution in the electric chair awaiting him.
Watching over him like a hawk is police detective Lieutenant Candela (played by the normally like a piece of wood, but
quite good here, Victor Mature) and they know each other since childhood, grown up in the same Italian neighbourhood
in New York. One of them surrending to the harsh environment when growing up and becoming a gangster, and the other rising
above the troublesome social context and becoming a policeman.

One with the meatier and likeable part - Yes, Conte as the killer, and the other with the stiff boring part as the law-abiding and
holier than thou cop that doesn't hesitate to shoot a man in his back - Yes, the unlikeable asshole Mature.
OK, this is a strictly cinematographical fictional view, as Conte is the better actor and more charismatic than the more wooden
Mature, but in real life a sociopatic killer wouldn't be more likeable than a policeman i hope. But, shooting a man in the back ....

Berry Kroeger and Conte

The police suspects that Martin Rome could be involved in another crime, the brutal robbery and murder of an old woman where
the loot is jewels. In that crime a woman was involved and even though the police don't know anything about this mysterious
woman's identity they suspect that she could be someone connected to Martin.
In a suspenseful scene Martin escapes from the hospitals prison ward and the police manhunt is on.
Martin wants to hide his girlfriend Tina (a very young, and much too young Debra Paget, she couldn't be legal) from the police, get
some money leave the country and also if possible to find the real culprits behind the jewelry heist. Could the slimy lawyer Niles,
played by the always fine Berry Kroeger, be involved maybe? Yes, he can.

Yes, Richard Conte is great and charismatic in this film, but the one who completely steals it and chew it up in her smaller role that's
The Amazing and Unbelievable Hope Emerson as a Swedish Massage masseuse combined brutal criminal who wants the jewels.
Yes, i promise, you will never forget her performance as Rose Given. The Gigantic Hope Emerson (1897-1960) strong as an Ox,
and the scene where she gives him a massage to the shoulders and the one in the subway with the police are very memorable. I don't
think i've ever seen a female actress like that. Shelley Winters makes a 9 minute long appearance as a female friend to Martin.
4:3 fullscreen black & white english mono audio with a trailer as an extra. Based on the novel "The Chair for Martin Rome"

 

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