Above: Joan Crawford bruised and battered in "The Damned Don't Cry."
"The Damned Don't Cry" 1950
Cast: Joan Crawford ~David Brian~Steve Cochran~Kent Smith~Hugh Sanders~Selens Royle~Jacqueline de Wit~Morris Ankrum~Edith
Evanson~Richard Egan~Jimmy Moss~Sara Perrry~Eddie Marr.
Director: Vincent Sherman
Producer: Jerry Wald
Costumes by Shelia O'Brien
Box Office Figures for "The Damned Don't Cry":
Top Grossing Film Position: #82 out of #95
Gross Rentals: $1,400,000.
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"The Damned Don't Cry" is a fun melodrama, based on the Bugsy Siegel-Virginia Hill story, weirdly combining
all the stock Joan Crawford prototypes from her films -- with the exception of musical star -- and rolling them into one.
Not only does Joan revisit all her past film types, but she swims and wears mink, too! She's a brassy riot as this no nonsense,
tough talking woman taking on the boys and making it in a man's world.
As in "Mildred Pierce," the story is told in flashbacks as the body of a murdered gangster is found in the desert,
his home movies featuring a fashionable socialite and heiress known as Lorna Hansen Forbes, and a distraught, mink-clad woman
arrives at a ramshackle house on the outskirts of oil derricks. We learn that the woman is Ethel Whitehead (Crawford), a
working-class housewife who had been saddled with a weak husband of no ambition (Richard Egan) (shades of "Mildred Pierce")
and who reached her limit when her six-year-old son Tom was run over by a truck while riding the bicycle she scraped to buy
him. Ethel then headed to the Big Apple where with a will of iron and the use of her feminine wiles and sex appeal, she rose
from cigar store girl to a dress model for a randy group of out of town buyers (where the models are required to "date"
the salesmen, along with putting up with outright harassment). The businessmen prove to be part of an illegal bookmaking
racket, and Ethel sleeps her way to the top of this empire, beginning with a spineless accountant, Martin Blackford (Kent
Smith) to the ruthless blond head of the ring, George Castleman (David Brian) and including the dark, sleek West Coast gangster
Nick Prenta (Steve Cochran). In order to aid Castleman's operation, Ethel is transformed into Lorna Hansen Forbes, fur-lined
socialite and mistress of Castleman. Although Ethel is "moving up" in the world, she is also digging herself in
deeper with duplicity and danger which culminates in her being sent to the West Coast and hired to keep Castleman informed
about Nick. At this point, Ethel, horrified at the turn events have taken, is in over her head.
Crawford makes the whole sordid enterprise taut and entertaining. Although Ethel is as "tough as a 75 cent steak,"
Crawford injects this hard-shelled dame with enough verve, style, chutzpah and charm to make one root for her. Her cheeky,
sexy confidence in certain scenes helps roll the plot along. Although accused of being often paired with weak men onscreen
at this juncture in her career, this is not the case with David Brian. He not only achieves a palpable electricity and edge
in his dynamics with Crawford, but also brings a fascinating brutality and realism to his role. His voice is as sinuous and
deadly as an asp. Fortuitous casting! This type of man is recognizable -- powerful, large, impeccably dressed and a ruthless
sociopath. You know not to mess with his kind..unless you're Ethel Whitehead. As the accountant, Blackford is so weak, Crawford
could eat him for breakfast (and love when she snaps at him, "Don't talk to me about self respect! That's something
you tell yourself you've got when you've got nothing else!") Prenta is appropriately handsome and hunky, the sort she
would understandably fall for and protect.
In all, it's Joan at her gritty, spunky best.
Pet scene: Crawford telling off mobster Brian in his office. In heels and rose-covered hat she's a full head shorter
Stars: 4 stars
Review: I did like this movie and Joan had two very nice looking co-stars. An action packed movie that had some scenes
that where quite violent eg: when he hit her and you actually kinda "felt" it. If your really not into violent movies
but you like Miss Crawford just see if for yourself