The Garment Jungle

1957

Crime / Drama

0
IMDb Rating 6.6

Synopsis


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1.67G
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English
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88 min
P/S 0 / 0
1.06G
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English
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88 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Sturgeon54 7

I'm in total agreement with the other reviewers here. This is a sharply-made film about a battle at a garment factory over unionization with terrific performances from Lee J. Cobb, a young Robert Loggia, and a menacing Richard Boone as a union buster. Kerwin Mathews gives only a passable lead performance, but then again his novice acting sort of fits his role as an outsider, which was necessary to give the audience a view of the garment industry from an outsider's perspective. Whether or not one scene or another was directed by Sherman or Aldrich makes little difference - the movie fits together fantastically, and has aged quite well. This movie would make a fine contrast to Paul Schrader's excellent 1978 expose movie "Blue Collar", which took an opposing negative view of the union.

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Reviewed by bmacv 8

In 1956, in broad daylight in midtown Manhattan, labor columnist Victor Riesel, who had written an expose of corruption in a Long Island union, was blinded by a bottle of acid flung into his face. This was the brutal New York battleground in which the aptly named The Garment Jungle took place the following year, a tough and absorbing drama about the fight to unionize the rag trade.<br/><br/>Lee J. Cobb runs a women&#39;s-dresses firm; his ardently pro-labor partner, in the opening moments of the film, plummets to his death down a freight elevator shaft. It was no accident. Proud entrepreneur Cobb, though shaken, persists in his campaign to keep unions out of his shop by paying protection to a ruthless mobster (Richard Boone). Cobb&#39;s son (Kerwin Matthews) returns from a stay in Europe and, sympathizing with the piece-work jobbers, starts poking his nose into his father&#39;s business arrangements. He befriends a union organizer (Robert Loggia) who meets with a knife in an alley. Ultimately even Cobb comes to realize he&#39;s been dancing with the devil and tries to break off his alliance with Boone, who in turn unleashes his standard retaliation. But Matthews discovers the location of ledgers recording the history pay-offs....<br/><br/>Vincent Sherman, a veteran of both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, directed, with some measure of assistance from Robert Aldrich. But here no divas reign; both Gia Scala and Valerie French take subsidiary roles, if not small ones. Hard guys dominate the movie, as they did in On The Waterfront, another look at New York City&#39;s labor relations (while nowhere near as mythic as that epic, The Garment Jungle matches it in brutality and in an unapologetically leftist point of view).<br/><br/>The movie boasts clarity and pace; there&#39;s even some nicely observed detail. Early scenes in the factory cleave into an upstairs/downstairs dichotomy: the jobbers sweat and toil for a pittance while the fashion models step into and out of elegant frocks (but, in malicious asides, the models grouse about being exploited as `escorts&#39; for out-of-town buyers looking for a big night in the Big Apple). <br/><br/>With the exception of the merely serviceable Matthews (whose young career stumbled after this movie and never regained its footing), the cast is notably fine. Cobb reins in his basso-profundo growl and curmudgeonly shtik, while Boone, Loggia (in his credited debut) and Joseph Wiseman (as a union stoolie) give restrained, convincing performances. Moments when the script threatens to go treacly are swiftly undercut by violence, and the movie never wavers from its plea on behalf of men and women risking their very lives to fight for a living wage. It&#39;s a stance that will strike many as hopelessly dated, in an era when Americans aspire to the status of stockholders; maybe that accounts for the obscurity of a bold and unsentimental film from late in the noir cycle that is brazen enough to make an overt political statement.

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Reviewed by hitchcockthelegend 7

The Garment Jungle is directed by Robert Aldrich and Vincent Sherman. The screenplay is adapted by Harry Kleiner from &quot;Gangsters in the Dress Business&quot; by Lester Velie. It stars Lee J. Cobb, Kerwin Matthews, Richard Boone, Robert Loggia, Gia Scala and Valerie French. Music is by Leith Stevens and cinematography by Joseph Biroc.<br/><br/>Alan Mitchell (Matthews) returns from the War to help his father Walter (Cobb) run the family fashion designer factory. Unfortunately he finds a business being protected by local hoodlum Artie Ravidge (Boone), who has the backing of Walter, and who is defiant in not letting the Union into the company. Things are about to turn very ugly and Alan is right in the middle of it.<br/><br/>Robert Aldrich is uncredited in a lot of sources, but the film was 98% his work. Cobb had a sulk about where his character was going, it all came to a head and Columbia head Harry Cohn, not needing much of an excuse to fire Aldrich (who was sick as well), brought in Sherman to finish the film. Or at least that&#39;s the party line story...<br/><br/>Aldrich&#39;s mark is all over the film, the harsher edges involving racketeers and violence are unmistakably his. The characterisations are pungent with varying degrees of menace, betrayal, cowardice and stoicism, with morals and ethics brought into sharp focus. Much of the pic is filmed indoors, which is a shame because when Biroc gets to photograph outside in the New York locales, we can see that we could have had a visual film noir treat. Instead we get a very good pro- Union drama with noir tints, though the softening of a key character, which Aldrich didn&#39;t aspire to, leaves you wondering just how much more spicy things could have been. 7/10

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