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The Garment Jungle: Black & White (1957)

Lee J. Cobb , Kerwin Mathews , Robert Aldrich , Vincent Sherman  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lee J. Cobb, Kerwin Mathews, Gia Scala, Richard Boone, Valerie French
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich, Vincent Sherman
  • Writers: Harry Kleiner, Lester Velie
  • Producers: Harry Kleiner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2008
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CQONHW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,686 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Garment Jungle: Black & White" on IMDb

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Product Description

On the mean streets of the garment district in New York City, Alan Mitchell (Kerwin Mathews) discovers that the dress business owned by his father (Lee J. Cobb) is being controlled by the mob. Alan must join forces with rebellious labor union leaders in order to save his family's company from thugs. Starring Oscar nominee Lee J. Cobb (1954, Best Supporting Actor, On the Waterfront) and Robert Loggia (Big), and directed by Vincent Sherman, The Garment Jungle is fast-paced film noir set in the cutthroat world of fashion.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(13)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"The Garment Jungle" is a social conscience film inspired by a series of articles that Leslie Velie wrote for Readers' Digest entitled "Gangsters in the Dress Business", intended as an exposé of New York's garment industry. Alan Mitchell (Kerwin Matthews) comes home to New York from 3 years of military service to join the family business, Roxton Fashions, a dress manufacturer founded by his father Walter (Lee J. Cobb). As Alan learns the ropes, he learns of the suspicious death of his father's business partner and the vicious tactics employed to keep the Dress Makers' Union out of his shop. Walter Mitchell has been paying protection money to a gangster named Artie Ravidge (Richard Boone), and tensions between union organizers and Ravidge's thugs have turned murderous.

This unabashedly pro-union movie reminds me of films of the 1930s. Made in 1957, it anticipates the revival of "social justice" filmmaking that would again become popular in the 1960s. "The Garment Jungle" has an appealing complexity in spite of somewhat dated themes. The smart writing by Harry Kleiner and the sharp casting ages well. Beyond the workers' rights agenda, it aims to deglamorize the fashion industry by taking the audience behind the scenes with models, buyers, workers, and shop owners. It's not entirely uncritical of the union. Walter is a sympathetic man, willfully turning a blind eye to Ravidge's methods, because he is committed to protecting the business that he created. He's caught between two extortionists: the union and the protection racket. The union must get the non-union shops to fall in line, or they will lose the support of the Manufacturer's Union.

Tulio Renata (Robert Loggia) is a union organizer committed to improving conditions for his fellow workers, even at his own peril.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Punchy film noir November 8, 2009
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Though film noir is often thought of as a style for thrillers, there are also those films which are concerned with the corruption of business: a prime example would be Jules Dassin's THIEVES HIGHWAY. THE GARMENT JUNGLE is another example, though it's not quite as explosive as the intention seems to be. Perhaps that may be due to the fact that there were several directors involved in the project (Robert Aldrich began the project but was taken off early on). Taking the corruption in New York City's garment industry as the basis for the plot, THE GARMENT JUNGLE has some very sharp scenes, Lee J. Cobb in another of his patented evil-boss performances, and sturdy production values. It's well worth a look, even if it's not in the upper range of film noirs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing expose of the rag trade June 10, 2011
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The Garment Jungle is unusually down and dirty for its era. A gripping story with a fine cast; Richard Boone is fabulous, and so very natural, as the sweaty and brutal master strike-breaker. Good use is made of the contrast between the elegant world of couture as seen on the surface and its sleezy, competetive underside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-Hitting 1950's Expose' November 7, 2012
By Maximo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Someone dies in a rigged elevator crash in the first 5 minutes. That's just the beginning of the gangster violence in this pro-labor union movie. It storyline may not be the epitome of realism (it's hard to believe the garment factory owner can carry on so efficiently but be so naive about the protection thugs he has hired), but the fast-paced plot certainly entertains throughout. The story skirts a few Hayes Code taboos, such as the main character living unmarried with a fashion model, and a pair of homosexual hitmen. The violence is graphic --- from speakers at a union meeting being whipped with tire chains to the chief union organizer being knifed in the abdomen and running down the street, shirt bloodied, before collapsing dead in the gutter. There are also disturbing threats made to the murdered organizer's wife that her infant child will have its legs amputated by gangster butchers if she goes to the DA to testify. But have no fear --- all comes out right, as it must in 1950s movies, at the end. Excellent cast includes Lee J Cobb (and coincidentally the movie feels a lot like On The Waterfront); Richard Boone as the head goon; Robert Loggia as the ill-fated union advocate; Gia Scala as his wife/widow; Jospeh Wiseman as a cowardly comrade of Loggia; and Wesley Addy and Adam Williams as the flamboyantly gay killers. Amazing how a 1957 film could be so raw!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Garment Jungle September 24, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A solid film noir film about the gangster influence on the garment industry in New York. A fine performance by Lee J. Cobb as the head of a garment manufacturing company trying to keep the union out of his company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GARMENT JUNGLE September 11, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Made in the 1950's..this is pure 50's Classic about the crime in New York & the garment industrial world.I was about 16 when I first seen this movie.I fell in love with the late & so so beauitful,GIA SCALA.Sadly years later she took her life.She was so good in the movie.Mr.Robert Loggia..playing her husband was great.With stars like,LEE J.COBB & the great RICHARD BOONE.You should pick this classic up.It's in widescreen & b/w.It runs 88 minutes.It will keep your interested to the end.Kerwin Mathews plays Lee J. Cobb's son.He's okay...but..Mr.Loggia & Mr.Boone are very powerful actors..along with Mr.Cobb.But Ms.Scala..she steals my heart. Thankyou.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Story of the Garment Business February 29, 2012
Format:VHS Tape
The Garment Jungle, 1957 film

This story begins with a view of New York city from the west. Most of the clothes made in America came from the industries located in a few blocks around Seventh Avenue. One partner, Fred, wants their employees to have a living wage by bringing in the union and getting rid of organized crime. But he has an accident in the elevator and dies. The other partner, Walter, has a son who returned from being away and wants to join the business. Lee Hackett, an important buyer and good friend, arrives. [Ladies wore white gloves then.] Was Fred's death really an accident? Walter personally handles cloth salesmen. They use live models to demonstrate their products and styles. We see and hear the models. The garment trade is a piece-work system. There are crowded conditions, workers complain about their pay. A union representative arrives to organize the workers. "Don't worry, I'll be back."

Walter calls Ravidge for help in fighting the workers. Son Allen is advised to learn and not talk. Allen visits Tulio, will he make a deal? People dance at the ILGWU office party. "You got a lot to learn." [Note the attitudes.] Tulio's wife Teresa objects to the meeting. Tulio explains "the edge", the benefits to the owner from workers who lack fair wages and benefits. Teresa gets a telephone threat. Union head Bronson reads a letter from the Manufacturer's Association at the union meeting. Hoodlums show up with chains to attack the union leaders. Allen learns the facts about the "protection business". The truckers are with the union, they will boycott a non-union shop. [They had this freedom then.] What will Walter do? Most of the other manufacturers deal with the union, says Allen. Will the lives of the union leaders be in jeopardy?
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