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.
If you have seen this movie, please write a review below. Once your review is submitted, I will post the review below.
Thank you for your review on this film.
Reviewer, Simon Davis, says...
By 1950 Joan Crawford was coming towards the end of her spectacular run as one of the leading female stars at Warner Bros
Studios. However before she finally left the studio in 1952 to seek new challenges as a freelance performer Joan had one last
powerhouse performance to give in the bleak but riveting melodrama "The Damned Don't Cry." The Crawford on display
in this story is the mature actress fully in command of her craft who by her sheer star power and gritty performing literally
wipes every one else off the screen in this tawdry tale of underworld thugs and the women they use along the way. In many
ways the screenplay is your typical rags to riches story so familiar to Crawford enthusiasts however Joan , under the solid
direction of veteran Vincent Sherman in the first of their three collaborations together really works magic with her character
of Ethel Whitehead/Lorna Hansen-Forbes, and makes the at times unlikely "The Damned Don't Cry," a taut and totally
fun outing. Full of double dealings, shoot outs, deception and a central female character who ruthlessly takes on the boys
in a man's world, it makes a fitting conclusion to Joan Crawford's amazing career run at Warner Brothers and definitely helped
pave the way for the many hard broiled roles which became almost her trademark in the 1950's.
Based on a story by Gertrude Walker the story opens with a distraught woman dressed in a beautiful mink coat arriving
at a dreary old house on the outskirts of a shabby town . She is no ordinary woman however as the story reveals and Ethel
Whitehead (Joan Crawford) appears to be escaping from some dangerous past. With her story told in flashback we first see Ethel
as a down trodden, financially strapped housewife married to a hard working but unimaginative husband Roy (Richard Egan).
Ethel's existence is shattered when her young son is killed while out riding the new bike his mother had just bought for him.
Deciding life must have more to offer than this existence Ethel packs up and moves to the city where she finds work firstly
in a cigar store and then in modelling clothes for a firm handling out of town buyers which often involves the women being
the "dates" for the travelling salesmen. When she meets gifted accountant Martin Blackford (Kent Smith), Ethel sees
her chance to develop a better life. She pushes Martin into an involvement with the owner of a local nightclub to handle his
financial affairs for a good price and from there they make the acquaintance of hardened gang land figure George Castleman
(David Brian), who sets up a reluctant Martin (now in love with Ethel), as his organisation's chief accountant. The ever
ambitious Ethel however soon has her sights set much higher and begins an affair with Castleman during which she undergoes
a complete transformation emerging as the mysterious but socially prominent Lorna Hanson Forbes. However the luxury apartment,
beautiful clothes and world travel provided by Castleman have their price as she now discovers when she is caught in a plan
by George to remove one of his underlings, West Coast operator Nick Prenta (Steve Cochran) .Sent to spy on Nick Lorna falls
in love with him and attempts to head off the inevitable show down between the two men that ends in tragedy for most of the
parties involved and sees Lorna fleeing back to her humble town with only the valuable mink coat she is wearing as evidence
of her former glittering life as the "socially prominent", but equally mysterious, Lorna Hanson Forbes.
Largely based on the story of Las Vegas gangster Bugsy Siegel and his mistress Virginia Hill, "The Damned Don't Cry"
proved to be one of the strongest vehicles that Joan had enjoyed in some time. At this stage in her ever enduring career the
role of Ethel Whitehead/Lorna Hansen-Forbes was one that suited Joan Crawford perfectly and seasoned professional that she
was she literally runs away with this meaty part. Rarely have I enjoyed her as much on screen as here and the unique thing
is that she makes her character's transformation from dowdy law abiding housewife to mistress of a mobster totally believable
as well as fascinating which is a real testimony to Joan's often underestimated acting ability. Joan Crawford enjoyed a very
successful collaboration with director Vincent Sherman here and again in her next feature the suerb "Harriet Craig".
Indeed by this stage in her career Crawford undoubtedly knew as much about directing herself as those hired to perform the
task. She is totally compelling on screen and I find even in the highly dramatic moments in the story my attention seldom
strays from watching Crawford's every move during the scene. What I find equally pleasing in "The Damned Don't Cry",
is that it provides such a strong central woman's role despite the story being the "rough and tumble man's story",
so typical of the output at Warner Bros. Despite the Crawford powerhouse dominating every scene the two leading males in David
Brian as the ruthless George Castleman and Steve Cochran as his rival Nick Prenta also make memorable impressions. One critic
likened David Brian's character to a snarling cobra and that's a perfect description of his character here and rarely has
Brian been so effective on screen. He enjoys an electric chemistry with Joan in their scenes together and the pair are dynamite
especially when the cracks start appearing in their on screen relationship as gangster and mistress. Production wise "The
Damned Don't Cry", has a lot of the famed "noir" look about it and the cinematography is especially effective
in depicting the drab and grainy existence of the early down trodden Ethel Whitehead which stands in stark contrast with the
filmy look to those scenes when Ethel becomes Lorna and is enjoying the good life of priviledge in New York and Palm Springs.
Sheila O'Brien's stunning fashions for Joan Crawford are another visual standout in "The Damned Don't Cry", perfectly
tracing the rise and fall of Ethel Whitehead from grubby dirt poor town to the heights of international society.
The saying "they sure don't make 'em like that anymore", is an apt description of "The Damned Don't Cry".,
and for all Joan Crawford fans who like to see her in commanding, fully cut roles this one is a real treat. Along with "Harriet
Craig", it is by far my favourite Crawford vehicle from the 1950's and it has everything a full bodied melodrama should
have with ruthless men always ready to pull a gun, and classy no nonsense women who are prepared to use their "charms",
to get ahead in a man's world. Joan Crawford like no other actress at this time was perfect for these roles and she doesn't
disappoint for one second here. Don't miss Joan Crawford in one of her last outstanding Warner Bros. roles before she became
a freelance actress in the sordid and fast moving "The Damned Don't Cry."
Reviewer, Danny Fortune, says...
My favorite "post-Pierce" Warner Bros. torrid potboiler. In the early part of the picture there is a flashback to
"Ethel"'s humble beginnings married to poor factory worker Richard Egan. The close-up she gets when she watches
her son being run over by a car is pure gold.
This is the quintessential suffering-in-mink Crawford picture. Joan claws her way to the top by brains and brawn, from
rags to riches, always looking for something better. It even has motherhood and murder.
On her way to the top, she seethes at milquetoast accountant, Kent Smith, when he doesn't have her drive and ambition:
Don't talk to me about self-respect. That's something you tell yourself you got when you got nothing else. The only thing
that counts is that stuff you take to the bank. That filthy buck that everybody sneers at but slugs to get. You gotta kick
and punch and belt your way up because nobody's going to give you a lift. You gotta do it for yourself because no one will
do it for you.
The last rung on the ladder to the top is handsome Steve Cochran. He has a sexy, sultry, smoldering sensuousness. But
like every other man she meets, he only leads to her final doom.
Today Vincent Sherman may be an "old scarf-wearing lizard," but in 1950 his direction of this turgid melodrama
was capable and competent.
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