Cry of the City
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Written by Richard Murphy from the novel “The Chair for Martin Rome” by Henry Edward Helseth
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
First viewing/Twentieth Century Fox Cinema Archives DVD
Robert Siodmak again shows why he was the master of film noir style.
Police detective Lt. Candela (Victor Mature) and Martin Rome (Richard Conte) both grew up in Italian families on the mean streets of New York. As the story begins, Rome is in the hospital being treated for bullet wounds incurred in a shoot-out during which a police officer was killed. He is visited by his girl, the Madonna-visaged Tina (Debra Paget in her screen debut). Later, a shady attorney shows up and tries to get him to confess to a jewel heist in exchange for a large pay-off. Rome refuses and the attorney threatens to finger Tina as the female accomplice involved in the heist. Lt. Candela is on the case trying to locate the girl. His friendly relationship with Rome’s family helps and he also tries to straighten out Rome’s younger brother Tony.
Martin is so concerned about Tina that he escapes from the prison hospital even though he is still gravely injured. He promptly bumps off the lawyer. He is in such bad condition that he turns to ex-girlfriend Brenda (Shelley Winters) for help in getting a shady doctor. Brenda also locates the real accomplice in the jewel heist, the scary Swedish masseuse Rose Given (Hope Emerson). The rest of the film is devoted to Lt. Candela’s relentless pursuit of Tony.
I thought the crime story was pretty routine. It is done with such pure noir style that the film is worth a watch, though. I liked the parallels drawn between Candela and Rome, down to similar injuries by the end of the film. Hope Emerson is awesome as the masseuse!
Clip – Shelley Winters – cinematography by Lloyd Ahern (sorry about print quality of clip – DVD print is beautiful)