Monday, March 30, 2020

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR APRIL ON TCM


Julio (newsboy): "How's Martin Rome making out? ... I see his mother heading to church every day. I think he'd've saved 'em some grief if he'd died."
Lt. Candella: "Maybe you're right. See you tomorrow."

Involved in a shootout where he killed a cop, Martin Rome (Richard Conte) is in police custody and undergoing surgery. His family is praying for him. One way or another Rome is a dead man, either he doesn't survive the surgery or he goes to the chair a cop killer.

Richard Conte, Victor Mature

A crooked lawyer, W.A. Niles (Berry Kroeger) wants Rome to confess to a vicious torture and robbery to clear his guilty client. If there is one soft spot in this tough's make-up it is for Teena Riconti (Debra Paget), the naive and beautiful young woman Martin believes he loves. Through Martin's questionable choices, Teena is now in the sights of the gangsters who want him to give false testimony and the cops who think she may be the accomplice if they can tie Martin to the jewellery case. Will he be able to keep her safe?

Victor Mature, Tommy Cook, Richard Conte, Mimi Aguglia

Lt. Candella (Victor Mature) is conflicted. His conflict extends to Martin Rome only insofar as Rome's family is involved. Mama's (Mimi Aguglia) heart will be broken as if her first-born hasn't already been breaking it every day. The two men grew up in the same neighbourhood with the same disadvantages. Martin Rome went for the quick buck and the good times. Candella is an underpaid cop who can sleep nights. Will Candella be able to keep Martin's kid brother Tony (Tommy Cook) from following in Martin's footsteps?

The barely recovering Rome escapes from the prison hospital, pursued by the determined Candella and his cynical partner Collins (Fred Clark) with such aching feet. Like breadcrumbs, they follow those that Rome uses to get money, to get to Teena, and to get out of the country. Betty Garde as a sympathetic nurse, Walter Baldwin as a prison trustee, Shelley Winters as one of Marty's girls, Konstantin Shayne as a doctor working the wrong side of the law, and the heartbroken Roma family. Martin Rome brings violence and murder in his wake, with two bodies to his credit before the day is through. Violence is wrought upon Martin Rome when he traces a desperate windfall to a masseuse played by Hope Emerson.

Richard Conte and Victor Mature are perfectly matched as opposite sides of the sword's edge in the dark world they inhabit. Henry Edward Helseth's 1947 novel The Chair for Martin Rome was adapted by Richard Murphy (Panic in the Streets). There is slick and enveloping darkness in Lloyd Ahern's cinematography and epic emotions in Robert Siodmak's direction. Alfred Newman's Street Scene is perfectly used as the musical motif placing the audience into the middle of this story.


Your plans are locked in for Tuesday, April 7 as TCM is devoting the evening to films-noir released in 1948. Cry of the City starts things off at 8:00 pm. The lineup continues with The Lady from Shanghai, He Walked by Night, Key Largo, Berlin Express, and The Naked City.


Movie connections:


Konstantin Shayne plays Dr. Veroff in Cry of the City. He is the brother of actress Tamara Shayne (Mrs. Akim Tamiroff), who played Richard Conte's mother in Thieves' Highway.



Hope Emerson and Debra Pagent of Cry of the City have featured roles in 1949s House of Strangers starring Richard Conte.












16 comments:

  1. JOHN ASTIN, best known for THE ADDAMS FAMILY, is 90 today! I know you like his comedic work but do you know very much of his dramatic work? As you know, he was on some eps of MURDER, SHE WROTE including one of your favorites STICKS AND STONES.

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    1. John Astin pops up in surprising places, such as voice work, and as France Nuyen's husband on St. Elsewhere. I discovered recently that a lot of friends and I share affection for Evil Roy Slade, a western spoof from the 1970s starring John.

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  2. I know John Astin was in two DORIS DAY movies. He was in THAT TOUCH OF MINK and MOVE OVER, DARLING. Im not sure but did he have any scenes with Doris in Move Over, Darling or just with JAMES GARNER? I think John played an insurance man. Also he did an ep of THE DORIS DAY SHOW where Doris goes on a father/son camping trip with TOBY. It is from the third season(the season where she and the two boys move into town).

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    1. The Doris Day Show was hard to follow. All I remember for sure was I loved the season(s) that featured John Dehner as her boss.

      John Astin truly made That Touch of Mink funny.

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  3. Other famous men named VICTOR are VICTOR FRENCH that Im a big fan of especially from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE(as MR. EDWARDS) and his guest star roles on GUNSMOKE and theres french author VICTOR HUGO. There is actor VICTOR GARBER from ALIAS and the TITANIC movie(1997). Didn't Garber play DADDY WARBUCKS in an ANNIE movie or show? I also want to mention two fictional men named Victor. VICTOR NEWMAN(ERIC BRAEDEN) on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and VICTOR (JOHN ANISTON) on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. I knew John Aniston from his role as MARTIN TOURNEUR on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW. He played the 4th(and last) husband of JO(MARY STUART) and the only husband that she divorced. I wasn't watching it then but I read that Jo divorced him because she caught him in an affair with...her enemy/rival STEPHANIE(MARIE CHEATHAM). You mentioned once that you like Miss Cheatham that you also know from Days Of Our Lives. P.S. I think the spelling of Victors last name on DAYS is KIRIAKIS.

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    1. We have some things in common here. Victor French's guest work on Gunsmoke is a favourite of mine. I remember John Aniston well from Search for Tomorrow and a kick out of him Victor.

      I had forgotten about that TV movie of Annie until you mentioned it. Victor Garber guest starred on Schitt's Creek last week. It is a Canadian series coming to its finale.

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  4. What a great write-up this is - I love your point about the "epic emotions" of this noir; it has the feel and thickness of Italian verismo opera. And what a terrific choice for April viewing. There's a grittiness and real darkness to the noirs of the late 1940s. They often don't end happily, and the characters are often tainted, even the 'good' ones. Richard Conte especially - he was SO good at playing charismatic villains! Somehow I think he should have been a bigger star. Hope you and your family are doing well!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. It is a movie I feel.

      Conte is my "King of Noir" and, when in tip-top condition, I'm willing to do battle on the coronation.

      We're getting by. It is the not seeing people, especially our son, that is the most difficult part of the lockdown. Truth be told, my lifestyle hasn't changed much. I still have to go out for dialysis three times a week and then I'm (should be) getting my blog posts done.

      I hope you and your are healthy, and able to cope with the new normal foisted upon us.

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  5. In this movie there was a character named TONY ROME, the kid brother of MARTIN ROME(RICHARD CONTE). Later FRANK SINATRA played a character with that name in the movie TONY ROME. PLUS Conte played a cop in the movie and he and SINATRA played those parts again in LADY IN CEMENT.

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  6. Ive seen FRED CLARK in lots of things. He was married to BENAY VENUTA from 1952 until their divorce in 1962. Fred and Benay got to work with BETTY GRABLE. Fred in 3 movies-MEET ME AFTER THE SHOW, HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE and HOW TO BE VERY, VERY POPULAR(which was the final movie that Betty did). Benay was in CALL ME MISTER which also had DAN DAILEY, DANNY THOMAS and DALE ROBERTSON. Dan, Danny and Dale! Fred was also in MOVE OVER, DARLING with DORIS DAY, JAMES GARNER and POLLY BERGEN.

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    1. My most recent Benay Venuta sighting was a re-watch of Repeat Performance.

      The most recent Fred Clark sighting would be in White Heat.

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  7. Speaking of the name Fred there was FRED ASTAIRE, FRED MACMURRAY,FRED ALLEN and FRED GWYNNE. When I hear the name Fred first I think of FRED MERTZ(WILLIAM FRAWLEY) on I LOVE LUCY. Then I think of FRED FLINTSTONE on the animated show THE FLINTSTONES and FRED SANFORD(REDD FOXX) on SANFORD AND SON. There is also FRED SAVAGE, the former child star who was on THE WONDER YEARS. His younger brother BEN SAVAGE was on BOY MEETS WORLD. (I don't think there is any relation between them and former child stars BRAD SAVAGE and TRACIE SAVAGE.)

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  8. I've always had a crush on Richard Conte - thanks for this review, I have to catch this movie. Not seeing people (especially family) is hard. My Mom and I have parked our cars several feet away in a parking lot and had a conversation but it's just weird, and not particularly private. We are thinking of using something like Skype or Airtime for more face to face time. Hope your staying well, and hope this ends soon!

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  9. I think I'll enjoy this one, especially the cast and script. i loved your description of the "slick and enveloping darkness" re: the cinematography.

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CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR JUNE ON TCM

John P. Marquand's serialized novel  Gone Tomorrow was published in McCall's m agazine 1940/1941 and released as a film by MGM ...