Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, "Manny" to his friends, is a string bassist, a devoted husband and father, and a practicing Catholic. His eighty-five dollar a week gig playing in the jazz combo at the Stork Club is barely enough to make ends meet. The Balestreros' lives will become a little more difficult with the major dental bills his wife Rose will be incurring. As such, Manny decides to see if he can borrow off of Rose's life insurance policy. But when he enters the insurance office, he is identified by some of the clerks as the man that held up the office twice a few months earlier. Manny cooperates with the police, as he has nothing to hide. Manny learns that he is a suspect in not only those hold-ups, but a series of other hold-ups in the same Jackson Heights neighborhood in New York City where they live. The more that Manny cooperates, the more guilty he appears to the police. With the help of Frank O'Connor, the attorney that they hire, they try to prove Manny's innocence. ...Written by
Sir Alfred Hitchcock filmed one of his usual cameos, standing in a restaurant as Manny sits, but decided on using a narrated prologue instead. See more »
When Manny is charged his height according to the chart behind him changes from around 6 .2" to over 7ft. See more »
This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking. In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures. But this time, I would like you to see a different one. The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it. And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all the fiction that has gone into many of the thrillers that I've made before.
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THE WRONG MAN is a bleak Alfred Hitchcock movie filmed in suitably low-key style with crisp B&W photography and two very deeply felt performances by HENRY FONDA and VERA MILES.
Hitch's fear of police (traumatic experience as a youth) serves him well in crafting the kind of intimidation a man feels when he's unjustly accused of a crime he hasn't committed. Eyewitnesses place him at the scene of the crime and the police are ready to lock him up and put him away in prison.
The only one who believes in him (or his innocence) is his wife, VERA MILES, but she begins to undergo serious mental stress as the situation seems to get more and more hopeless. Eventually, she is driven to the brink of insanity and her heart hardens toward her husband. Vera Miles is excellent in the role, subtle and completely believable.
What distinguishes THE WRONG MAN from other Hitchcock films is that it's all filmed in a brisk, documentary style that leaves no room for the usual gimmicks. It's about as straightforward in its story-telling manner as any of his films has ever been, based on a true life incident in the life of a man falsely accused.
Summing up: Well worth watching, but not unless you're willing to be more than a little depressed by the somber mood.
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