The Wrong Man
|The Wrong Man|
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Produced by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Screenplay by||Maxwell Anderson
|Story by||Maxwell Anderson|
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann|
|Editing by||George Tomasini|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||December 22, 1956 (U.S.)|
|Running time||105 minutes|
The Wrong Man is a 1956 film by Alfred Hitchcock which stars Henry Fonda and Vera Miles. The film was drawn from the true story of an innocent man charged with a crime, as described in the book, The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero by Maxwell Anderson, and in the magazine article, "A Case of Identity" (Life magazine, June 29, 1953) by Herbert Brean.
It was one of the few Hitchcock films based on a true story and whose plot closely followed the real-life events.
Manny Balestrero (Fonda), a musician at New York City's Stork Club, so resembles a man who had twice held up an insurance office that police are called when Manny unknowingly goes there on business. He is arrested after several witnesses identify him as the robber, and in providing a handwriting sample he misspells a word which was also misspelled in a note written by the robber.
Attorney Frank O'Connor (Anthony Quayle) sets out to prove that Manny cannot possibly be the right man: at the time of the first hold-up he was on vacation with his family, and at the time of the second his jaw was so swollen that witnesses would certainly have noticed. Manny and his wife Rose (Miles) look for three people who saw Manny at the vacation hotel, but two have died and the third cannot be found. All this devastates Rose, whose resulting depression forces her to be hospitalized.
During Manny's trial a juror, bored with the minutiae of one witness's testimony, makes a remark which prompts the judge to declare a mistrial. While Manny is awaiting a second trial he is exonerated when the true robber is arrested holding up a grocery store. Manny visits Rose at the hospital to share the good news, but as the film closes she remains profoundly depressed; a textual epilogue explains that she recovered two years later.
- Henry Fonda as Christopher Emmanuel "Manny" Balestrero
- Vera Miles as Rose Balestrero
- Anthony Quayle as Frank O'Connor
- Harold J. Stone as Jack Lee
- Charles Cooper as Det. Matthews
- John Hildebrand as Tomasini
- Esther Minciotti as Mama Balestrero
- Doreen Long as Ann James
- Laurinda Barrett as Constance Willis
- Norma Connolly as Betty Todd
- Nehemiah Persoff as Gene Conforti
- Lola D'Annunzio as Olga Conforti
- Werner Klemperer as Dr. Bannay
- Kippy Campbell as Robert Balestrero
- Robert Essen as Gregory Balestrero
- Richard Robbins as Daniel - the Guilty Man
Historical notes 
The real O'Connor (1909–1992) was a New York State Senator at the time of the trial, who later became the district attorney of Queens County (New York City, New York), the president of the New York City Council and an appellate-court judge.
A Hitchcock cameo is typical of most of his films. In The Wrong Man he appears only in silhouette, just before the credits at the beginning of the film, where he tells a darkened studio that the story is true.
Many scenes were filmed in Jackson Heights, the neighborhood where Manny lived when he was accused. Most of the prison scenes were filmed among the convicts in a New York City prison in Queens. One of those inmates shouted to Henry Fonda, "What'd they get ya for, Henry?" as the actor is being taken to the constructed set of Manny's prison cell.
Bernard Herrmann composed the soundtrack, as he had for all of Hitchcock's films from The Trouble with Harry (1955) through Marnie (1964). It is one of the most subdued scores Herrmann ever wrote, and one of the few he composed with some jazz elements, here primarily to represent Fonda's appearance as a musician in the nightclub scenes.
This was Hitchcock's final film for Warner Bros. It completed a contract commitment that had begun with two films produced for Transatlantic Pictures and released by Warner Brothers: Rope (1948) and Under Capricorn (1949), his first two films in Technicolor. After The Wrong Man, Hitchcock returned to Paramount Pictures.
The Rotten Tomatoes approval rating is currently 89%.
See also 
- Variety film review; January 2, 1957, page 6.
- Harrison's Reports film review; December 22, 1956, page 204.
- Brean, Herbert (June 29, 1953). "A Case of Identity". Life, p. 97.
- Godard on Godard, translated by Tom Milne, Da Capo Press) in his years as a critic; and in Scorsese on Scorsese (edited by Ian Christie and David Thompson), it is cited as an influence on Taxi Driver.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Wrong Man (film)|
- The Wrong Man at AllRovi
- The Wrong Man at the Internet Movie Database
- The Wrong Man at the TCM Movie Database
- DVD Review Review of the film at Vista Records
- The Wrong Man Eyegate Gallery
- Slant magazine review of film