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The Garment Jungle

*gasp* Not terror!

This is from a box set of Columbia noir movies — the picture looks nicely restored, but there are some audio/video sync issues?

Hm… but only when some people are speaking? Perhaps some people were dubbed and the problem was always there?

This is an odd movie. I mean, I don’t know where it’s going at all, and that’s unusual. And I like it.

The performances are rather stiff, though, as if the director didn’t know quite how to direct people… but the (credited) director, Vincent Sherman, is an old veteran of the business, so that’s not it at all.


Aldrich called the movie “the first pro-labor picture; in it I am trying to emphasize another particular aspect of our times – the tragedy of the small businessman, caught between the ever expanding large corporations and the pressures of organized labor. The small businessman has often, in order to stay alive, compromise with graft and blackmail….[the film] should be an unusually frank film.”


Sherman says Cohn then asked him to finish the picture. “I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” said Sherman. “I re-shot, I would say, about seventy percent of the picture in about ten days time.”

So Aldrich was fired, and Sherman re-shot most of the film in a very short amount of time. I guess that explains the general weirdness of the film.

Nice hat!

The cinematography on this is really on point. Lots of striking shots…

The tough-guy union man is also adept at changing nappies. That’s an unusual detail to put in…

There’s just a lot of stuff going on here — as if this movie was designed to appeal to students writing term papers on it thirty years later. There’s the union thing, of course, but also the Italian mobsters vs Italian organisers, and Jewish manufacturers, and the apparent love interest being the (obviously) soon-to-be-widowed wife of the organiser (with the nine month old baby), and…

Was all that in the original script, or is it this messy because of the change in directors?

(She’s breastfeeding the baby.)

About the half-way point, the movie just seems to get a whole let interesting. I mean, on a scene-to-scene basis. It’s more pure melodrama instead of being a kinda odd thing? Perhaps the remaining Aldrich scenes are towards the beginning (if they filmed it chronologically)?

Yeah, the first half was weird and great, and the last half is just snooze-ville: No nerve, no interest, no fun.

So… this is one of those things where your mileage will vary a lot. Some of the early scenes are so great you might want to this, and the last half is so boring that seems too good. So I’m going with:

The Garment Jungle. Robert Aldrich & Vincent Sherman. 1957.

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