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The Garment Jungle (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 25 April 1957 (USA)
The struggle of a lady's garment workers' organization to unionize a New York clothing sweat shop; the owner of which is determined to keep the union out of his business at any cost.

Directors:

Vincent Sherman, Robert Aldrich (uncredited)

Writers:

Lester Velie (articles), Harry Kleiner (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Lee J. Cobb ... Walter Mitchell
Kerwin Mathews ... Alan Mitchell
Gia Scala ... Theresa Renata
Richard Boone ... Artie Ravidge
Valerie French ... Lee Hackett
Robert Loggia ... Tulio Renata
Joseph Wiseman ... George Kovan
Harold J. Stone ... Tony
Adam Williams ... Ox
Wesley Addy ... Mr. Paul
Willis Bouchey ... Dave Bronson
Robert Ellenstein ... Fred Kenner
Celia Lovsky ... Tulio's Mother
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Storyline

During the 1950s, the New York garment industry is going through a turmoil. On one side, the industry workers want to organize themselves into labor unions that will fight for them in obtaining better wages, better working conditions and other benefits. On the other side, the factory owners and their managers staunchly oppose unionization. At one of the largest garment companies, Roxton Fashions, the owner, Walter Mitchell, is fighting against his workers' wishes to unionize. For the past 15 years, Walter Mitchell has been using the mob muscle in order to protect his company against unions. His gangster friend Artie Ravidge, and his henchmen, provide Walter Mitchell and Roxton Fashions with such protection against union men who agitate the workers into forming their own union locals. This protection includes murder, whenever necessary, to eliminate stubborn union men. Unfortunately, when Walter Mitchell's business partner, Fred Kenner, argues in favor of allowing a union into their ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The whole naked truth about the rackets in New York's garment center!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 April 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Garment Center See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,050,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Aldrich dismissed the idea that he had been fired from this movie because Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, had learned that the character of the megalomaniac studio boss in Aldrich's earlier film, "The Big Knife", had been based on him. Aldrich pointed out that he had already made "Autumn Leaves" for the studio, that the "Big Knife" character had been rather more obviously based on Louis B. Mayer and that Cohn had, in any case, been rather amused by the connection. The real reason for his dismissal, he claimed, was that he had made "The Garment Jungle" too tough, violent and uncompromising, ignoring frequent calls by Cohn and also, more pointedly, by leading man Lee J. Cobb, to soften the story-line and certain characters. When Aldrich came down with mild influenza and missed a day's work on December 4th, 1956, this provided the excuse for him to be fired. It is usually said that he was only five days away from the scheduled completion of the movie, but, with Vincent Sherman now directing, the filming went on until December 20th. Some sources hint that Sherman re-shot several scenes to make them less violent. Aldrich could not comment on this as he refused to see the film (and never did). See more »

Goofs

About half way through, when the truck drives forward into the ally past the union 'picketers' towards the elevator. After they kill Tulio the truck is inexplicably turned-around (without room in the ally to turn around) and drives forward out of the ally the same way it came in. See more »

Quotes

Artie Ravidge: A real troublemaker, that one. But don't you worry; this stuff'll move, it'll move. When I get done with him, he won't bother us no more.
Alan Mitchell: What are you going to do?
Artie Ravidge: Never mind. I'm going to educate that Union real good to lay off us.
Alan Mitchell: Dad, are you going to let him...?
Walter Mitchell: What do you want me to do? Give in to them? Let the Union take over? That's what'll happen once they grab hold. With their hours, and benefits, and guarantees... three percent of the payroll for retirement, two percent for health, ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
Unity is powerful.
27 February 2016 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Garment Jungle is directed by Robert Aldrich and Vincent Sherman. The screenplay is adapted by Harry Kleiner from "Gangsters in the Dress Business" by Lester Velie. It stars Lee J. Cobb, Kerwin Matthews, Richard Boone, Robert Loggia, Gia Scala and Valerie French. Music is by Leith Stevens and cinematography by Joseph Biroc.

Alan Mitchell (Matthews) returns from the War to help his father Walter (Cobb) run the family fashion designer factory. Unfortunately he finds a business being protected by local hoodlum Artie Ravidge (Boone), who has the backing of Walter, and who is defiant in not letting the Union into the company. Things are about to turn very ugly and Alan is right in the middle of it.

Robert Aldrich is uncredited in a lot of sources, but the film was 98% his work. Cobb had a sulk about where his character was going, it all came to a head and Columbia head Harry Cohn, not needing much of an excuse to fire Aldrich (who was sick as well), brought in Sherman to finish the film. Or at least that's the party line story...

Aldrich's mark is all over the film, the harsher edges involving racketeers and violence are unmistakably his. The characterisations are pungent with varying degrees of menace, betrayal, cowardice and stoicism, with morals and ethics brought into sharp focus. Much of the pic is filmed indoors, which is a shame because when Biroc gets to photograph outside in the New York locales, we can see that we could have had a visual film noir treat. Instead we get a very good pro- Union drama with noir tints, though the softening of a key character, which Aldrich didn't aspire to, leaves you wondering just how much more spicy things could have been. 7/10


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