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Author Topic: The Wrong Man (1956)  (Read 6015 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2012, 03:08:54 PM »

So the cops want to make a comparison of handwriting 1) though they are not able to do it AND then 2) "forget" to do it. So I have to assume they're Keystone cops. And I keep wondering why the supposedly "original" message is never shown: if the spelling mistake were where it's at, then H. wouldn't have any problem showing it.
Maybe. As D&D said, the event comes from Manny's account of things and reflects his point of view. The cops never showed him the original, so we don't get to see it either.

In any case, the cops don't use it as legal evidence against him; it's merely a means to identify him as a suspect, and also has some psychological value (they might be able to force a confession on the strength of it). What does Manny in are the "eye-witnesses". Never very reliable to begin with, these people are in effect coached by the police to ID Manny. This is the point where the system actually fails.

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« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2012, 03:12:56 PM »

I'm thinking that back in the day the eye witnesses identifications held quite a bit of weight (though now we know better), the cops may have been looking for a quick easy collar and sort of railroaded Balestrero.

Something is not kosher with the story as it plays on the screen, perhaps Hitch in order to be able to shoot in the actual criminal justice locals, had to play politics with NYPD and not tell all the facts.

edit found this:

http://books.google.com/books?id=CkgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA97&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 05:42:50 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: April 24, 2012, 12:02:55 AM »

I'm thinking that back in the day the eye witnesses identifications held quite a bit of weight (though now we know better), the cops may have been looking for a quick easy collar and sort of railroaded Balestrero.

Something is not kosher with the story as it plays on the screen, perhaps Hitch in order to be able to shoot in the actual criminal justice locals, had to play politics with NYPD and not tell all the facts.

edit found this:

http://books.google.com/books?id=CkgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA97&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false

So he was told to write it a half-dozen times UNTIL he misspelled it: that's my guess.

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« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2012, 01:35:20 AM »

So your complaint is that the cops, in a film based on a true story, are shown to be incompetent. Huh.

-- I think that that those who are arguing that the cops are the villains here are arguing that the cops are actually out to get Fonda, and not merely incompetent.


-- Btw, I do not know how advanced the science of matching handwritings was in the 50's; was it something that any cop thought he could spot easily, or was it like it is today, a very specialized science?

-- does anyone remember whether Fonda misspelled "DRAWER" on both of his samples, or only the second one?

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« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2012, 03:37:14 AM »

-- I think that that those who are arguing that the cops are the villains here are arguing that the cops are actually out to get Fonda, and not merely incompetent.


-- Btw, I do not know how advanced the science of matching handwritings was in the 50's; was it something that any cop thought he could spot easily, or was it like it is today, a very specialized science?

-- does anyone remember whether Fonda misspelled "DRAWER" on both of his samples, or only the second one?

not off hand.

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« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2012, 04:30:14 AM »

not off hand.

I assume that reply on my third point?

If so, do you know anything about my second point (ie. how advanced the science of handwriting analysis was in the 50's)?

« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 04:32:38 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2012, 05:39:24 AM »

So he was told to write it a half-dozen times UNTIL he misspelled it: that's my guess.
I went back and watched the scene in the film again. After Manny writes out the two notes, the cops put the "original" aside and hold up the two Manny has written. What is apparently the first note Manny wrote partially obscures the second note, but the word "DRAWER" is clearly visible on the first note (at least, it's visible on an upscaled DVD on a 46" monitor). So titoli is right (as far as the movie is concerned): Manny spelled the word correctly the first time, the second time he didn't, and the cops stopped the exercise once they got the result they wanted.

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« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2012, 05:57:41 AM »

(ie. how advanced the science of handwriting analysis was in the 50's)?
That's not even quite the issue, as they were comparing samples of printing rather than cursive. Of course, there may be ways to compare printing also, but the differences would be even more subtle than what one typically sees in handwriting comparisons. How would cops be able to eye-ball those differences? Clearly, the cops are using the "handwriting" angle as a pretext as they go on their fishing expedition.

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