“This guy’s looking for his break; that’s all he’s looking for.”
An over protective Italian-American (Raf Vallone) living in Brooklyn with his wife (Maureen Stapleton) and grown niece (Carol Lawrence) is distressed to learn that Catherine (Lawrence) has fallen for a young immigrant (Jean Sorel) who has come to the country illegally with his cousin (Raymond Pellegrin).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Arthur Miller Adaptations
- Immigrants and Immigration
- Play Adaptations
- Sidney Lumet Films
The same year Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962) was released, Sidney Lumet also directed this adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play of the same name — though to much lower critical acclaim. (Indeed, as of 2021, this film still hasn’t been released to video.) It’s a unique story in terms of its focus on immigrant status as a leverage point, with Vallone’s obsessive love for his niece getting in the way of doing the right and decent thing for his countrymen.
While Vallone himself is unaware of it, he harbors semi-incestuous feelings for Lawrence — and handsome Sorel bears the brunt of his anger. (In a “daring” scene for the time, he accuses Sorel of being homosexual by kissing him on the lips.)
However, arguably the most impacted by Vallone’s irrational hatred is Pellegrin, who is keeping his kids back at home alive by sending money he’s earned in America, and whose immigration status may be jeopardized by Vallone.
Meanwhile, Vallone’s wife (Stapleton) tries to intervene, but mostly simply watches events unfolding with horror. This tragedy of obsession, loyalty, responsibility, and revenge plays out in a way that hints at heartbreak from the get-go — which turns out to be accurate.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- A powerful drama of inter-familial tensions
- Good use of location shooting in Brooklyn
No, though it’s worth a look if you can find a copy. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.