Thursday, July 9, 2020

Edward G. Robinson lives in a "House of Strangers"

House of Strangers (1949) is a film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward, and Richard Conte. The cinematography is by Milton R. Krasner (Scarlet Street 1945).

Richard Conte (sitting), Paul Valentine, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Luther Adler
Edward G. Robinson is Gino Monetti, an Italian-American banker whose business practices are questionable at best, against the law at worst. His four sons work with him at the bank. Gino dominates and belittles them at every opportunity, which causes deep resentments.

When Gino is put on trial for bank fraud, three of his sons take control of the bank with only Max (Richard Conte), a lawyer, taking his father’s side. Max bribes a juror in an attempt to keep his father out of jail, which leads to his disbarment and a seven-year prison term.
Richard Conte and Susan Hayward
Once out of jail, Max vows revenge on his brothers, especially older brother Joe (Luther Adler) who, like his father, controls his younger brothers Pietro (Paul Valentine) and Tony (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.).

Max’s quest for revenge threatens his relationship with Irene Bennett (Susan Hayward) a client he fell in love with. Will Max’s hatred and bitterness destroy him and his family or will he be able to create a new life with Irene.

Nineteen forty-nine was a great year for director Mankiewicz. That same year he wrote and directed A Letter to Three Wives, for which film he won two Academy Awards for directing and writing. He would win two more Oscars the following year for writing and directing All About Eve (1950). He is the only director to win back-to-back Academy Awards for writing and directing.

Edward G. Robinson (1893 – 1973) was an American actor of the stage and screen. Robinson is a true star from Hollywood’s Golden Age where he starred in the gangster classic Little Caesar (1931), Kid Galahad (1937), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939), The Sea Wolf (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), and Key Largo (1948). Robinson was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1973 but was never nominated for a competitive Oscar.

Susan Hayward (1917 – 1975) was an Academy Award-winning actress for her role as Barbara Graham in I Want to Live (1958). Hayward worked as a fashion model but traveled to Hollywood in 1937 to try out for the role of Scarlett O’Hara. She didn’t win that coveted role, but she secured a film contract. Hayward’s career took off in the late 1940s when she was nominated for Best Actress for Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947). She received four more Best Actress nominations for My Foolish Heart (1949), With a Song in My Heart (1952), I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955), and I Want to Live. Later in her career, Hayward replaced Judy Garland as Helen Lawson in Valley of the Dolls (1967).

Richard Conte (1910 – 1975) was an American actor who came to prominence in the late 1940s under contract to 20th Century-Fox. He co-starred with James Stewart in Call Northside 777 (1948) and had the lead role in Thieve’s Highway (1949) directed by Jules Dassin (Night and the City 1950), and played Gene Tierney’s husband in Otto Preminger’s Whirlpool (1949). Conte worked constantly and had major roles in Ocean’s 11 (1960) and The Godfather (1972).

Below is the YouTube link to House of Strangers. Be sure to use this link because there are several versions available on the channel. The quality of this one is terrific.

After youve watched the movie, join us on Tuesday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. Central Time on Zoom for a discussion. The Zoom meeting link is below

Stephen Reginald is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Discussion of "House of Strangers"
Time: Jul 14, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 722 1492 0975
Password: 9skVd3

Questions for discussion:
1. Noir or not? How does this fit in with the genre in your opinion?
2. Did Edward G. Robinson’s character remind you of another famous character from the movies?
3. Some critics thought that Susan Hayward’s role wasn’t necessary for the film narrative. Do you agree with that assessment?
4. Were you surprised by anything? Did the movie end the way you thought it would?


  1. Looking forward to this! A unique, powerful Fox favorite.

  2. Looking forward to this. A unique, powerful Fox favorite


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