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Christ in Concrete (1949)

Sam Wanamaker , Lea Padovani , Edward Dmytryk  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Wanamaker, Lea Padovani, Kathleen Ryan, Charles Goldner, Bonar Colleano
  • Directors: Edward Dmytryk
  • Writers: Ben Barzman, Hans Székely, John Penn, Pietro Di Donato
  • Producers: Edward Dmytryk, Nat A. Bronstein, Rod E. Geiger
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 17, 2003
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000093NSF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,506 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Christ in Concrete" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer from original 35mm nitrate elements
  • Isolated music score
  • Archive of rare stills and artwork
  • Video interview with Peter di Donato and film scholar Bill Wasserzieher
  • Home movies of author Pietro di Donato
  • 1965 recording of Harold Seletsky's experiment musical monodrama Christ in Concrete, featuring Eli Wallach

Editorial Reviews

In 1939, novelist Pietro di Donato wrote an incendiary novel called Christ in Concrete, a bestseller and Book of the Month selection about Italian-American immigrants working the construction trade in New York at the onset of the Great Depression. This work of hard-edged social criticism, filled with closely observed naturalist detail and gifted poetry, was turned into an extraordinary motion picture in 1949 by blacklisted filmmaker Edward Dmytryk. Part neorealist, part melodrama, part film noir, it won top awards at festival across Europe but was all but banned in the United States. Also known as Give Us This Day and Salt to the Devil, Christ in Concrete was suppressed, lost, and almost forgotten, but it remained Dmytryk's personal favorite and became a holy grail to dedicated film fans. Now with the participation of the di Donato family, this vital film is back in this deluxe DVD edition!

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly a classic June 22, 2003
Although I thought the movie was less controversial in content than what the title and the description suggest, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The subject matter, which explores one man's downfall during the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s, has already been discussed in American films and novels, such as Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. What is very different about this film, however, is the dark and un-Hollywood way in which the protaganist meets his destiny. There's no Disney ending here. For a film that has been virtually destroyed and banned in the U.S., Christ in Concrete is palatable for a wide audience, and I would recommend it as a required viewing in a high school history class.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christ in Concret October 8, 2005
Hollywood has never shown much dedication to social realism, and when it has it's usually set it within the context of crime and criminality. If it takes place in an urban setting the movie is about gangsters, in non-urban settings it cowboys gathering around a lynching. John Ford's 1940 `The Grapes of Wrath' is an exception that proves the rule. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Edward Dmytryk's powerful CHRIST IN CONCRETE (1949) was filmed in England, during a period in his career when Dmytryk was blacklisted by Hollywood.

Adapted from Pietro di Donato's novel, CHRIST IN CONCRETE is the story of Geremio (Sam Wanamaker), a bricklayer in New York City. The story takes place during the decade preceding the Great Depression. One day Geremio sees a photograph of an Italian family and declares, pointing at one of the young women in the photograph, "I want to marry her!" Soon Annuziata (Lea Padovani) is debarking in New York and the marriage indeed takes place. Annuziata's dream is to own a home, her great dream, and she came to America with the understanding that Geremio was a homeowner. Not quite. Geremio is saving money for a home, but work is spotty in these relative boon times. A bricklayer works maybe one week out of three. They will save, of course, but it will be a very long time before they have the $500 dollars needed to make the down payment on their dream home. Tragically, beyond their knowledge, their dream of a home is in a deadly race with a stock market that is on the verge of crashing and plunging the country into the Great Depression.

Such is the set-up for this unique film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Backbone for America November 13, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film was on Hollywood's blacklist & had been totally lost until recently. Based on Pietro Di Donato's novel it is the story of Southern Italians who came to America to secure jobs, family, and home.....the American dream.

Set in the 1920's this black and white DVD is the story of the young men who were the bricklayers for the buildings in New York. It takes place over several years, and begins with a traditional Italian wedding. The struggles these Italians endured in the 1920's and during the Depression show the hardships these men & women endured and the love, determination, and sacrifices they had to make.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read the Book September 3, 2010
By Eolia
This movie was quite controversial. It does not show the good side of the employers or even those in power to help when there is so obvious a problem. You get the sense of the discrimination the immigrants experienced. However, the movie only covers a portion of the excellent book. One that will haunt you even more.
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