House of Strangers

House of Strangers is a 1949 American film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward, and Richard Conte.[2][3] The screenplay by Philip Yordan and Mankiewicz (who chose to go uncredited) is the first of three film versions of Jerome Weidman's novel I'll Never Go There Any More, the others being the Spencer Tracy western Broken Lance (1954) and The Big Show (1961).

House of Strangers
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz
Produced bySol C. Siegel
Screenplay byPhilip Yordan
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (uncredited)
Based onI'll Never Go There Any More
1941 novel
by Jerome Weidman
StarringEdward G. Robinson
Susan Hayward
Richard Conte
Music byDaniele Amfitheatrof
CinematographyMilton R. Krasner
Edited byHarmon Jones
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million[1]


Gino Monetti is a rags-to-riches Italian-American banker in New York whose methods result in a number of criminal charges. Three of his four grown sons, unhappy at their father's dismissive treatment of them, refuse to help Gino when he is put on trial for questionable business practices. Eldest son Joe seizes control of the bank and brothers Tony and Pietro side with him. Max, a lawyer, is the only son who stays loyal to his father.

The brothers conspire to send Max to jail as well. Max tries to bribe a juror to save his father, but gets disbarred and serves a stretch of seven years in prison. Max must leave behind Maria (played by 15-year old Debra Paget), the girl he had been expected to marry, and Irene, a client he fell in love with after becoming her attorney.

Max vows revenge on his brothers, but when he is released Max has a change of heart when he realizes that his father had caused all the tension within the family. The three brothers, however, are still worried about his quest for vengeance, and Joe even goes so far as to order Pietro to kill Max. In doing so, however, Joe insults Pietro in the same way their father always had, prompting Pietro to turn on Joe instead.

Max saves Joe from Pietro's wrath by reminding Pietro that if he kills Joe, he would only be doing exactly as their father would have wanted. Max then leaves his brothers to rejoin Irene and travel to San Francisco, where they plan to start a new life together.



Critical response

Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film, writing, "Joseph L. Mankiewicz stylishly helms the dark screenplay by Philip Yordan of Jerome Weidman's novel I'll Never Go There Any More ... It's a bitter psychological family drama that focuses on hatred as the family's driving force instead of love. Max is the ambivalent hero, the only one in the film who is a true film noir character, who is punished for being loyal to his father yet is someone who has rejected the ways of the old-country and its traditionalism for the ethics of the New World. Superb performances by Conte, Robinson, and Adler lift the ordinary dramatics into loftier territory."[4]


The film was entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival [5] and Edward G. Robinson won the prize for Best Actor.[6]


  1. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
  2. "House of Strangers". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  3. House of Strangers at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  4. Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, December 13, 2004. Accessed: July 12, 2013.
  5. "Festival de Cannes: House of Strangers". Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  6. "Festival de Cannes: Awards 1949". Retrieved 2009-01-09.
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