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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 (46 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: 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 (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,235 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
30 of 32 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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22 of 23 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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edward G. steals the show December 29, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
"House of Strangers" commences with Richard Conte playing disgraced lawyer Max Monetti visiting his three brothers Joe, Tony and Pietro in the bank that they own. He's just been released from prison and apparently has vengeance on his mind. After his less than cordial call he proceeds to return to the now deserted family homestead. He has a flashback and we learn what has caused his predicament.

Conte's father is Gino Monetti played with complete aplomb by the incomparable Edward G. Robinson. Gino Monetti is as old world Italian immigrant who elevated himself from being a poor barber to a rich banker on New York's Lower East Side. Robinson was not wise to the banking laws and would loan money to people without collateral and at unregulated usurious rates. He eventually was investigated and brought up on charges. Lawyer Max came to his rescue being the only son of four that rated his father's respect. His brothers had been berated and treated poorly by Robinson, who felt he had good reason to do so.

The three brothers did nothing to help at the trial and things were going badly. Conte took a chance and attempted to bribe a juror, got caught and imprisoned for seven years. Meanwhile Robinson had his bank stolen from him by his sons and lived out the rest of his days embittered with hatred in his heart.

Conte's gorgeous girlfriend Irene played by the stunning Susan Hayward waited for him all those long years and seemed to be the tonic that would allow him to start life anew and forsake his brothers.

Director Joseph Mankiewicz did a nice job coordinating the heated interactions between his characters to create a story of a once close family torn apart by jealousy, resent and greed. The Romanian born Robinson makes the whole movie with his very convincing portrayal of an old school Italian complete with accent and mannerisms.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars How Money Affects a Family
House of Strangers, 1949 film

It begins with a view of a New York City street crowded with pushcarts (small businesses that are now obsolete). Read more
Published 24 days ago by Acute Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it!
Published 25 days ago by Vannessa
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 2 months ago by Fiona's Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good movie.
Published 3 months ago by D'Maria
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 3 months 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 months ago by donna m scotto-couto
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Topic From this Discussion
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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