Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Martini movies: The Garment Jungle, 1957

'Martini movies' are a new concept for me, but they are a series of dvds of pulpy noirs and gangster flicks, mainly from the '50s, but also later '70s titles like THE ANDERSON TAPES or DOLLARS and flicks like Rita and Glenn's AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD. They include details of martinis to sip while watching. Mainly Columbia titles, like THE GARMENT JUNGLE which is a nice discovery: a top-notch Crime/Mob/Racket thriller like those recent mellers 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE and UNDERWORLD USA (see Dramas label).
On the mean streets of the garment district of New York City, Alan Mitchell (Kerwin Mathews) discovers that the dress business owner by his father (Lee J Cobb) is being controlled by the mob. Alan must join forces with rebellious labour union leaders in order to save his family's company from thugs. THE GARMENT JUNGLE is a fast-paced noir set in the cutthroat world of fashion. 

Kerwin Mathews is a recent re-discovery of mine (as per 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE, 3 WORLDS OF GULLIVER, 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD etc, see Kerwin label) and he is quietly terrific here as the son returning to the family business. Gia Scala is a very pleasing presence and attractive leading lady as the Italian wife of one of the guys who are offed by the mob - she of course was in GUNS OF NAVARONE, and a nice one I liked then 4 GIRLS IN TOWN (Gia Scala label), she later committed suicide, another Hollywood casualty like Gail Russell (see 7 MEN FROM NOW, below). Lee J Cobb is firing on all cylinders as usual and is another terrific role for him (like in MAN OF THE WEST, PARTY GIRL, ON THE WATERFRONT etc) as the father finally seeing the corruption around him caused by Richard Boone and being reconciled with his son just of course before the mob hits back.
New York in the '50s looks authentic here. It seems this was directed by Robert Aldrich but he was replaced by old hand Vincent Sherman who gets solo directing credit. Its a tough fast flick more in keeping with Aldrich's direction. I liked it a lot. Kerwin and Gia make a nicely attractive couple. That heavy from NORTH BY NORTHWEST Adam Williams is also involved, along with DR NO Joseph Wiseman, Valerie French, dependables Harold J Stone and Celia Lovsky, and evil Wesley Addy. Boone gets his comeuppance nicely too. 
One unusual scene for 1957 is where Gia breastfeeds her baby in the restaurant ...

We also learn how to make martini's like a Manhattan, ideal to sip while watching this: 6 parts rye whiskey, 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part sweet vermouth, garnished with a cherry. We like Martini Movies !

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