First up CRY OF THE CITY
Severely wounded but unrepentant cop killer Rome (Richard Conte) escapes from a secure hospital ward, but his childhood pal Lieutenant Candella (Victor Mature) is hot on his tail.
The plot, involving a sleazeball lawyer, stolen jewels and a burly masseuse, is preposterous and convoluted, but that doesn’t really matter. This flick is more of a proto-Scorsese exploration of the Italian immigrant experience and the deeply fraught, intense male relationships that develop in those New York City tenements. It’s worth watching for that aspect alone.
But the real reason to watch this flick is the astounding Hope Emerson as the above mentioned masseuse.
The overtly sexual and predatory scene where Emerson uses her intimidating size and superior strength to woman-handle Conte is unforgettable. I love the way she purrs in his ear about how she could just as easily use those big strong hands of hers to make him feel good or kill him.
One other thing that I want to mention about this flick is that Rome has an underage girlfriend. Future Snake Dancer Debra Paget, who plays saintly, luminous Teena, was only 14 (!!!) at the time of filming and she looks even younger.
Her love scenes with 38 year old Conte are pretty mild and G-rated but it still feels kinda icky so heads up if you’d prefer to avoid that kind of thing.
Shelley Winters, on the other hand, is all woman in her role as Rome’s streetwise side piece. I love the leopard coat she wears as she hauls the wounded fugitive all over the city looking for a morally flexible doctor to patch up his bullet wounds.
Lastly, Betty Garde has a cameo in this one too. Between her and Emerson, we’re really racking up the points on our CAGED bingo card this year!
Next up in our NYC double feature, THE NAKED CITY.
There are 8 million write ups about THE NAKED CITY. This is one of them.
Tonight we’re leaving the concrete jungle for the Wild West with BLOOD ON THE MOON and PURSUED. So saddle up, Faustketeers and watch along with me at home!