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House of Strangers (Fox Film Noir) (1949)

Edward G. Robinson , Susan Hayward , Joseph L. Mankiewicz  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Luther Adler, Paul Valentine
  • Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Writers: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Jerome Weidman, Philip Yordan
  • Producers: Sol C. Siegel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,241 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "House of Strangers (Fox Film Noir)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by film historian Foster Hirsch
  • Poster gallery
  • Production still gallery
  • Unit photography gallery
  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Edward G. Robinson's ill-gotten gains embroil his entire family in scandal and murder. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must, despite the pallid commentary June 16, 2006
This is a film I'd only caught TV fragments of, decades ago. I'd watched enough back then to know I wanted to add it to my home collection, but I held off buying the videotape version because the video was available at an outrageously high price. I've come to appreciate the voiceover commentaries Fox provides on many of its re-releases so, when Fox announced it was making a reasonably priced DVD of it available, I pre-ordered it a month before its release. The movie itself is excellent in every respect. The commentary, though, is not up to the usual Fox standards.

The commentary complains that Susan Hayward's character doesn't fit the femme fatale prototype for noir and thus she has too much screen time. However, as commentary on other Fox noirs has pointed out, the supportive "good girl" love interest is as much a part of the noir tradition as the wise-cracking torch singer; and clearly Hayward's role was (expertly) expanded to augment her star development, much as was done somewhat earlier for Lauren Bacall in THE BIG SLEEP.

Hayward's savvy dialogue imbues her character with the sassy edge one expects of a noir femme fatale, suggesting that she's a capable match for the protagonist in the boudoir. But the commentary misreads the scene where her lover (Conte) reacquaints himself with the sexual atmosphere of her apartment after a seven-year absence. This is not a tense, foreboding mood (especially in contrast to the menacing gloom when he enters his parents' "dark old house" in the sequence that follows this one), as he pockets her lipstick kiss on a discarded tissue and then nonchalantly slips out of his clothes to take a shower.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Immigrant Experience as Greek Tragedy. August 24, 2006
"House of Strangers" is based on the novel "I'll Never Go There Again" by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright and novelist Jerome Weidman, who wrote about the immigrant experience in New York City in the early 20th century, particularly the Jewish immigrant experience. This screenplay is credited solely to Philip Yordan, but director Joseph Mankiewicz actually wrote the final version of the script. Jerome Weidman's book is about a Jewish banking family who were changed to Italians for the film. If that was in order to avoid controversy, it didn't quite work. The Giannini family, who founded Bank of America, complained to 20th Century Fox that the family in the film resembled theirs. But they were outdone by the studio chairman himself, Spyrus Skouras, who thought the fictional Monetti family was his. So he limited the film's release. That's unfortunate, because "House of Strangers" has some wonderful performances, including one that earned Edward G. Robinson a Best Actor award at the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.

Seven years after he went to prison for attempting to bribe a juror, Max Monetti (Richard Conte) returns to New York with vengeance on his mind, directed at his brother Joe (Luther Adler), whom Max believes gave the police the tip that put him away. His old flame Irene Bennett (Susan Hayward), a sharp-tongued uptown girl, wants Max to abandon thoughts of vengeance and start a new life with her. As Max listens to his deceased father's opera records, we travel back in time to when family patriarch Gino Monetti (Edward G. Robinson), a poor barber-turned-rich-banker, held his immigrant clients and his 4 sons under his sway.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. August 9, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Superb. I can't believe I had not even heard of it, hopefully this DVD release will help it find a new audience and some deserved critical acclaim. It's billed as film noir, but it really isn't; it's more an extremely complex, suspenseful family drama. But that doesn't even do it justice. The screenplay is terrific, subtle, thoughtful, and at the same time, razor sharp. Some of the exchanges between Conte and Hayward in particular are electrifying. Talk about two `tough cookies' that ignite when they get together. And you really begin to care deeply about what happens to them. (All of the acting is top notch, across the board.) And then there is the direction by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The movie is so beautifully crafted and feels as if it could have been made yesterday, it's gritty and urban and fresh. The composition in the movie has deep meaning in just about every shot, and is gorgeous to behold besides. Watch this movie.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unto the Next Generation April 20, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
HOUSE OF STRANGERS is a cautionary film about the dangers of hatred being passed onto the next generation almost as if hatred were an old and unwelcome pair of shoes. Edward G.Robinson is Gino Moretti, a self-made banking magnate who built his fortune as a ruthless moneylender who chose not to observe the usual niceities about observing normal banking regulations concerning records and collateral. In his over the top performance as an Italian who might have been Vito Coreleone had the Don chosen to go straight, Robinson is a totally self-centered egomaniac who comes off more as a smug Biblical patriarch holding court over his captive family than he does the old-world banker who believes that his money gives him rights that transcend filial obligations. It is hard to like him as he rips into his four sons, insulting each of them in ways that undercut whatever sense of independence and goodness that otherwise might have been there. It is only Max (Richard Conte), who can see,if only belatedly, the vision of his father. And even Max learns that he must purge himself of the bitter dregs of poison and animosity that afflict his brothers. Max cannot do this alone; he requires the understanding first of Maria (Debra Paget) then later Helen (Susan Hayward), both of whom act as leavening agents that continually remind him of the goodness that each is sure lies within. Gino Moretti is truly a vicious inverted father figure in whose futile bleatings to his ungrateful sons,"Who do you think I built this bank for?" generates no pity in them but rather a sense of loss in us that he probably heard the same empty words from his father. The difference between the utter tragedy that this film was just a hairsbreath away from and the modest sense of optimism that it does end with is probably no more than what may, in similar real-life situations, have emerged. What goes around truly comes around, and HOUSE OF STRANGERS continually reminds us of the truism of that cliche.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a lover of "film noir" and Edw. G ...
I'm a lover of "film noir" and Edw. G. Robinson is the
epitome of that genre. For you movie buffs out there,
this movie is the original for which "Broken... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Fiona's Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good movie.
Published 19 days ago by 0282
4.0 out of 5 stars what great films are all about
They don't make them like this anymore, and that's a great, great shame. (Why would anyone in Hollywood today be interested in an interesting story w interesting characters you... Read more
Published 27 days ago by L. Monstuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangers
I am glad to have this movie in my collection, I watched this when I first got it. I really liked this film.
Published 2 months ago by Audrey Chaney
5.0 out of 5 stars A Family's Disintegration
"House of Strangers" I saw many years' ago and was pleased to be able to buy it. It's an engrossing tale of a family done in flash back style from Richard Conte's view... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Annette S. Urquhart
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story
Great performances by Richard Conti, Edward G. Robinson and Lew Adler. Timeless story about "letting go" of past offenses in order to move forward in life.
Published 3 months ago by Fred
5.0 out of 5 stars House of Strangers (Fox Film Noir)
What a great movie! Edward G. Robinson at his best! Story of a powerful father & his control of all of his sons, except for one. I added this to my DVD collection of favorites.
Published 4 months ago by Barbie Doll
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
added this to your classic movie collection. won't disappoint for any fan of Edward g Robinson .grab some popcorn and sit back and enjoy
Published 6 months ago by donna m scotto-couto
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir at it's best.
Can't go wrong with this cast (especially Richard Conte) and this director. Conte was also in the Godfather (as Barzini, I think.)
Published 7 months ago by Terry C. Keller
5.0 out of 5 stars House of Strangers DVD
Fast Delivery! WE Love this Movie ! Great story of an Italian Family and Greed! I ordered it for my Husband. Nothing like the Classics.
Published 7 months ago by A. Corrado
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Jun 30, 2006 by fifth angel |  See all 3 posts
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