House of Strangers

Movies, Thriller
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The story of a patriarchal Italian-American banker and the internecine strife created by his attempts to dominate his four sons (remade as the Western Broken Lance). Much darker than most Mankiewicz movies, almost noir in fact, though cast in his favourite flashback form so that it becomes a sort of confessional memoir probing ambiguities of motive (and allowing Robinson to make a stunning first appearance, conjured in Conte's memory by a portrait, a Rossini aria, and the camera prowling endlessly up a grand stairway in the family mansion). Terrific performances (Conte, Robinson, Adler) and even better camerawork by Milton Krasner which uses lighting and composition to stake out the screen, the house and the family groupings into sharply defined areas of conflict.

By: TM

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