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« on: January 18, 2013, 01:23:31 AM »

The Damned Don't Cry (1950)

Plot synopsis and cast, courtesy of imdb

A New York socialite climbs the ladder of success man by man until a life among rich gangsters gives her what she thought she always wanted.

Joan Crawford    ...   Ethel Whitehead / Loran Hansen Forbes
    David Brian    ...   George Castleman / Joe Caveny
    Steve Cochran    ...   Nick Prenta
    Kent Smith    ...   Martin Blankford
    Hugh Sanders    ...   Grady
    Selena Royle    ...   Patricia Longworth
    Jacqueline deWit    ...   Sandra
    Morris Ankrum    ...   Jim Whitehead
    Edith Evanson    ...   Mrs. Castleman
    Richard Egan    ...   Roy Whitehead

Previous posts, from the Film Noir Discussion Thread,

cigar joe
The Damned Don't Cry (1950) Director Vincent Sherman, with Joan Crawford. Caught this one near the end she "plays a woman who becomes discontented with her marriage and boring life and sets out to make a better living for herself no matter the cost. She loses her young child in an accident. Her infatuation with dangerous men ultimately leads her into equally dangerous situations". This one was better than the last but I missed all of the melodrama at the beginning, lol. It ended as a sort of riff on the Bugsy Siegel story with Joan playing a mobsters girlfriend who is encouraged to "fraternize" with the Bugsy character to rat on what's going on to the mobster. Still with Crawford in it and from what the beginning sounds like I can only rate it at best a 6/10.

dave jenkins

You're selling this one short. It's my favorite of the 40s-50s Crawfords (not counting the non-noir Daisy Kenyon): a tough-as-nails tale that really moves. The summary that you quote above takes place in about the first 5 minutes of the film; then we get Joan clawing her way to the top over the bodies (metaphorically speaking) of Kent Smith, David Brian, and finally a very dashing Steve Cochran. This is one of the best examples there is of the Warner formula (cheap, fast, and tough).

cigar joe
Fair enough. Like I said I only saw the last 30 minutes, and was rating it based on my dislike of Crawford, I'll give it another go if it pops up again, you bet.


drinkanddestroy (from the RTLMYS thread)

The Damned Don't Cry (1950) 8/10

Joan Crawford stars as a woman seeking to live a lower-class life behind and live the good life, by becoming a gangsters' moll. Her character was loosely based on Virginia Hill.


This was a good movie; though I do have problems with the casting:

-- they should have chosen a pretty actress for the role. Joan Crawford was a great actress, but hideously ugly; and for this role, you need a hot babe.  Of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and there are plenty of less-than-beautiful-women who have used makeup, clothing, charm etc. successfully. But for this role, we have to believe that this woman could get anything she wants from any guy, that even rich guys who can have any babe will go crazy for her, where she takes over any room she walks into, etc. I'm not saying the movie won't work unless you have a Rita Hayworth or Jane Russell; but you can't use an ugly woman.

-- Steve Cochran, the actor who played Nick Prenta, was really good, while David Brian, the lead actor who played George Castleman, is just average; I'd have preferred if Cochran had played the main character. (Reminds me of The Public Enemy: James Cagney was originally supposed to be the supporting actor, playing Tom Powers' partner; but once they started filming, the filmmakers immediately realized that Cagney was THE MAN, and switched the roles).

-- Kent Smith, who played the accountant Martin Blankford, delivered a very average performance


Other than the casting, my only problem was with the very last lines of the movie, by the two reporters talking to each other outside Crawford's home. (The following 'quotes' are all paraphrased). One of the reporters remarks to his buddy, "It must be tough to live in a place like this": that is the only line from that conversation that should have been used; the movie should have just ended right there. Instead, there are a few more meaningless sentences that follow (and there may have been a few preceding) like "it's not so easy to leave," and "do you think she'll try to leave again?" etc. All of those sentences are useless (to put it mildly) and should have been scratched; that conversation should have consisted entirely of the one sentence, "it must be tough to live in a place like this," followed by THE END.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 01:33:22 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 01:38:25 AM »

One of my favorite indicators that I am going to love a movie is when I read a review by Bosley Crowther trashing it. (My other favorite indicator: when I read that Pauline Kael trashed it).

For those who enjoy this stuff, here is Crowther's review, publishe din the April 8, 1950 New York Times

A lengthy and lurid illustration of the thesis that crime does not pay and that ladies who dance with mobsters must fee the fiddler in the end is offered by Warner Brothers in their new film, "The Damned Don't Cry," which has Joan Crawford as the victim and which came to the Strand yesterday. Take the old true-confession formula, slick it up with some synthetic "class" and top it with gangster-film violence and you have yourself a notion of this show.

For here we have sin and its wages (which are not too exorbitant, by the way) put forth in the old familiar pattern of make-believe "reality." Here we have Miss Crawford playing a frustrated laborer's wife who leaves her miserable surroundings for a self-aggrandizing career, working up in an underworld environment to the role of "fancy lady" to a big gang boss and then crashing back to the place of her origin when a mobsters' feud wipes out her man. And here we have, too, a prime example of that sort of commercial hypocrisy which endows an obvioutevildoer with glamor and sympathy.

Miss Crawford as the "fancy lady" runs through the whole routine of cheap motion-picture dramatics in her latter-day hard-boiled, dead-pan style. As a laborer's wife, she plays it without make-up and with her face heavily greased (although fake eyelashes are still retained as a customary embellishment of a laborer's wife). As a cigar-store clerk and clothes model, she plays it tough—you know, speaks the tough guy's line and looks the mere men squarely and coldly in the face. And as the ultimately cultivated "lady" she gives it all the lofty dignity that goes with champagne buckets and Palm Springs swimming pools. A more artificial lot of acting could hardly be achieved.

However, the men who support her run her a very close race. David Brian as the modern big-time gang lord to whom the lady hitches her star looks and acts like the big-city villain in back-country traveling tent show. When he comes to a line such as this one, "I like a woman who has brains, but when she also has spirit, that excites me," he virtually ends it with a lecherous "hey-hey!" And Kent Smith, as a public accountant whom Miss Crawford lures into the syndicate, plays a Milquetoast so completely that his whole performance seems a succession of timid gulps. Steve Cochran as a tricky West Coast mobster and Selena Royle as a cagrant socialite do their jobs in a conventional B-story, A-budget way. Vincent Sherman's direction is as specious as the script.


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