The Wrong Man
1956 | Drama | 105 minutes | English
Hitchcock states in the opening that every word in the film is true. Manny Balestrero is a musician at New York’s Stork Club. When his wife Rose needs expensive dental work, Manny visits the insurance company hoping to borrow against Rose’s policy. A staff member at the office identifies Manny as the person who twice held them up. The police question Manny informing him that in addition to the insurance company a liquor store and delicatessen were robbed. After being picked out of a police lineup by an employee of the insurance company, Manny is arrested on charges of armed robbery. Attorney Frank O’Connor sets out to prove that Manny couldn’t be the robber: during the first holdup, Manny was on vacation with his family; the second holdup his jaw was so swollen that this would certainly have been noticed. All this devastates Rose resulting in her hospitalization for depression. During the trial a juror’s remark forces a mistrial. While awaiting a second trial, Manny and his attorney hope that something will come up to exonerate him.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 92%
- 75th Venice Film Festival, Winner, Golden Lion
- Ten Academy Award Nominations. Winner: Best Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Best Cinematographer (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York
Best Film of 2018: Time Magazine and The New York Film Critics Circle
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The scenario is based on a true event, and Hitchcock tells it with great attention to realism and verisimilitude. But anyone expecting, as a result, a movie devoid of expressive cinematic style, will be pleasantly surprised; this is as fluently styled a movie as Hitchcock ever made.
Few films play so tightly on the contrast between unimpeachably concrete details and the vertiginous pretenses of reality. Hitchcock’s ultimate point evokes terror: innocence is merely a trick of paperwork, whereas guilt is the human condition.
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