The Wrong Man 1956

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(24) IMDb 7.5/10
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Manny Ballestero is an honest hardworking musician at New York's Stork Club. When his wife needs money for dental treatment, Manny goes to the local insurance office to borrow on her policy. Employees at the office mistake him for a hold-up man who robbed them the year before and the police are called. The film tells the true story of what happened to Manny and his family.

Starring:
Henry Fonda,Vera Miles
Runtime:
1 hour, 45 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Thriller, Crime
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Henry Fonda, Vera Miles
Supporting actors Anthony Quayle
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Jan. 2015
Format: DVD
At its heart playing up one of Hitch’s greatest obsessions, that of the innocent man accused (and incarcerated), this 1956 film, starring Henry Fonda as the 'steady’ family man and jazz musician Manny Balestrero in the dock for an insurance company robbery, was also heavily sold on its being based on a true story. It fits more in the mould of intimate, serious, character-based drama, rather than having any expansive plot (or, indeed, moments of light-hearted relief), and is another of the director’s explorations of the psychological effects of guilt (real or otherwise), touched on in many of his films, perhaps most notably in the likes of Spellbound, Rope, I Confess, Vertigo, Psycho and Marnie. For The Wrong Man, Hitch (and cinematographer Robert Burks) reverted to shooting in black-and-white, thereby enhancing the film’s near-documentary look and feel, as well as its predominantly sombre, claustrophobic mood, and Bernard Herrmann provides an appropriately melancholic, ominous and haunting score.

Acting-wise, The Wrong Man is very much a two-hander, and Hitchcock struck gold in (perhaps obviously) casting 'honest, upstanding’ Henry Fonda as his hero, married to (an also impressive) Vera Miles’ loyal, but increasingly morose and paranoid, wife, Rose. It is difficult to think of anyone who might be better than Fonda in this role (James Stewart?) – his stunned disbelief palpable, staring into the distance as circumstances (and coincidences) conspire against him during the film’s first hour – as effective a depiction of the devastating, disorienting effect of a criminal justice system as you’re likely to see.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Cohen-almagor on 2 Mar. 2012
Format: DVD
At the age of 5, Hitch's father called the police to teach him a lesson after he misbehaved. The policeman took his job rather seriously and locked young Hitch for a few minutes in a cell. This left quite an impression on Hitchcock and may explain the love/hate relationships he had with the police, evident in his films.

Hitch dealt with the theme of wrongly-accused person fighting for his innocence in Young and Innocent (1937). Here, in The Wrong Man (1956), he returns and expand on the theme. It is about a man is tried for crimes committed by a look-alike robber. This is a far better movie, with the legendry Henry Fonda who was, as ever, superb.

The Wrong Man is a serious film. You will notice that from the first moment, as Hitch presents the film in his own particular way. He stands in the dark, we don't see his face, only hear him saying that this is a true story, based on real facts that are hard to imagine, but yet true. From then on, the focus is on Fonda who carries the majority of the film on his shoulders. Hitch even avoided his usual cameo appearances as he did not wish us to distract even for a minute from the misfortunes of the wrongly-accused man.

Henry Fonda, one of Hollywood all-time greatest actors, plays musician Manny Balestrero, a man who leads a quiet life with his wife and two boys, when one day he is believed to be a serial armed robber. Manny is arrested and charged with the crimes. He is identified by several witnesses, and his life break apart. Fonda is quiet, contained, submissive, in a place where he does not belong, playing in accordance to rules he does not understand. When he is able to somehow collect himself, his wife Rose (Vera Miles), so terribly distraught by the ordeal, losses her sanity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S J Buck TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD
Once again Hitchcock surprises us by making a movie that is completely different from the other better known films he made in this era. Theres no Hollywood action and very little of his trademark suspense in this movie. Its almost a procedural Police movie with a bit of court room drama thrown in for good measure. Above all this though is how the relationship between a man and wife is stretched beyond the limit by a simple misidentification.

Henry Fonda looks suitably haunted and Vera Miles as his wife Rose perhaps even more so. What Hitchcock portrays so well in this movie is the reality of an innocent person being prosecuted for a crime he did not commit.

This is also part of an excellent boxed set which I strongly recommend. Sure this isn't a classic Hitchcock but even an average Hitchcock is much better than most other filmmakers attempts.
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By pjr VINE VOICE on 1 Dec. 2012
Format: DVD
Made in 1956, "The Wrong Man" seems like something of a curio in Alfred Hitchcock's film canon. Compare "The Wrong Man" to anything else Hitchcock made in the 50's is difficult as this film sticks out as being a very different story and a very different film. This is much more nuanced, lacking much of the drama and tension of the other films made by Hitchcock at the time.

Based on a true story, "The Wrong Man" traces the story of a bass player wrongly accused of a series of violent robberies in New York. Starring Henry Fonda, as the wrongly accused, and Vera Miles, as his wife, the film follows the investigation, accusation, and subsequent trial. Told without the trademark dramatic tensions this is a more serious, sombre piece of work. Fonda is almost blank, his performance a modicom of restraint. There are few moments where he lets the facade drop, one notable one when he confronts his son after being released by the police after being charged. Even when his wife, excellently played by Vera Miles, descends into depression he reamains utterly stoic.

Miles's breakdown is seen by some as the most difficult part of the story to understand but when looking the film as a whole as a study of Catholic guilt, it is much easier to understand. Throughout the film Fonda's character is not without his rosary. From the prison cell (where it is the only thing the policeman lets him keep) to the courthouse, it is never far away. This is a study of guilt, and a deeply personal film for its director. Hitchcock was haunted by an episode where he was locked in a police cell for a few hours at the age of five. This film clearly faces the considerations of that incident head on.

Its style is also very much at odds with the other movies Hitchcock was making at the time.
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