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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 (40 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: 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: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,218 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
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I have no sons. I have strangers!" June 21, 2005
By Dave
Format:VHS Tape
This gripping and highly entertaining film noir, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz ("Somewhere in the Night", "A Letter to Three Wives", "All About Eve", "No Way Out") has three oscar-worthy performances, great music, and superb cinematography. The script has some of the sharpest, hardboiled dialogue of any film from that period. Richard Conte and Susan Hayward were terrific as usual, but the scene-stealer award should go to Edward G. Robinson who gave one of his very best performances. In addition to this movie, throughout the 1940's and 1950's Robinson appeared in numerous film noirs: "Double Indemnity" (1944), "Woman in the Window" (1944), "Scarlet Street" (1945), "The Stranger" (1946), "The Red House" (1947), "All My Sons" (1948), "Key Largo" (1948), "Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (1948), "The Glass Web" (1953), "Black Tuesday" (1954), "Tight Spot" (1955), "Illegal" (1955), and "Seven Thieves" (1960).

Max Monetti (Richard Conte) has just been released after spending seven years in jail. Soon it becomes clear to the viewer that Max's three brothers, Joe (Luther Adler), Pietro (Paul Valentine), and Tony (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), are to blame for Max losing seven years of his life. Through a lengthy flashback, the story of Max's downfall is explained. The bank that his three brothers had taken over originally belonged to their intimidating father Gino (Edward G. Robinson), who worked his sons hard and frequently insulted them. The only one Gino treated with kindness was Max, who earned his living as an intelligent but very cynical lawyer. Max had been engaged but was soon involved with another woman, the beautiful Irene Bennett (Susan Hayward). This was only the first in a series of big changes in Max's life.

Then it happened.
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21 of 21 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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27 of 29 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 1 day 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 1 month 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 2 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 4 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 4 months ago by A. Corrado
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie.
One of the very best Film Noir movies, which was released in the late 1940s. It is believed to be the best performance that Edward G. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rusi Mahudawala
5.0 out of 5 stars "Look at da Bad Guy"
Actually, call me callous, but I felt sorry for Edward G & didn't think he deserved the ire from his sons & wife. He can't make a bad film though Richard Conte is the lead role. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Class of '69 - So Fine
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim, compelling drama.
Inhabiting the nebulous area between family tragedy and film noir, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's "House of Strangers" is grim, compelling stuff. Edward G. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Miles D. Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Got Shortcomings, but it's a Great Cinematic Ride
Like many in this Fox Noir series, House of Strangers is borderline noir at best, but it's still one of my favorites in the set. Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. R. Trtek
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!
Edward G. Robinson is just one of the greatest actors all time. Richard Conte, although normally the bad guy, was good in this. I liked how dedicated he was to his father. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Diane Johnson
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Where is Boomerang??
cancelled due to some type of legal problem...fortunately i grabbed a copy before it was yanked off the me if you want me to get you a copy.
Jun 30, 2006 by fifth angel |  See all 3 posts
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