I have just watched The Wrong Man (1956), starring Henry Fonda and Vera Miles. Directed by Hitchcock this movie is based on a real case of mistaken identity in 1953.
Manny Balestrero (Fonda), a member of the band at The Stork Night Club, is a devoted family man who is very much in love with his wife, Rose (Miles) with whom he has two young sons.
Money is tight, Rose needs urgent dental work so Manny approaches their insurance company for a loan against Rose's policy. He is advised to come back with Rose as she has to sign for the loan. Unbeknownst to Manny the employees at the insurance company think he is the same man who has held them up twice in the last year and have contacted the police.
Later in the afternoon when Manny gets home just before he inserts his key in the door the police approach him and take him away. He asks more than once can he tell his wife as she will be worried, all they say is she will be advised. You feel for Manny as he is driven away for he can see his wife through their front window but can't let her know whats happening.
The tension is palpable as you follow Manny through his interview with the detectives, the identification process, being fingerprinted, no contact with anyone to let them know what is happening all coming to a head when he is placed in a cell overnight. The dignity with which Manny handles all that befalls him is amazing and Fonda is amazing as Manny.
But this film is not only about Manny but the terrible toll it took on his wife, Rose. Rose blames herself for Manny's plight. She tells him if she hadn't needed dental work, if she had been more careful with money, a better wife none of this would be happening. Rose has a mental breakdown and has to be institutionalised. You think to yourself how much can one family bear. Throughout all of this Manny's family, friends, co-workers and employer stand by him as they know the kind of man he really is.
There are some touching scenes between Manny and Rose in the beginning of the movie showing how much they love each other and how ordinary a life they lived. Another touching scene is after Manny has just been released on bail involving his older son. But the scenes that break your heart surprisingly are of Rose's descent into mental illness and her response to Manny when he is finally cleared.
Visually, this film is worth it for just that alone.
Lemmon did his best acting in this movie!
Thanks for reviving this old post. Classic movies are pretty much all that I watch, so I could probably keep this going on a daily basis. lol. Right now, watching Topper. :)
I have always thought Cameo Kirby (1923) starring John Gilbert and Jean Arthur was a lost film, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered a print on YouTube, the quality isn't great but watchable it also has Portugese subtitles, the title is the alternative to Cameo Kirby which is Dama, Valete e Rei. See the YouTube link below.
I haven't watch it yet but having had the film sheet music which has a scene from the film on the cover for at least 30years, it's long overdue for me to sit and hopefully enjoy. If anyone has seen this film and would like to comment I'd be very interested to read any review.