Alfred Hitchcock dramatically portrays the true story of Christopher Emanuel (Manny) Balestrero (Henry Fonda). Until these unfortunate events, he is a happily married man living in New York City. He has a beautiful wife named Rose (Vera Miles), two great sons and a job that is very much to his liking. As a musician at the Stork Club, he makes a decent amount of money but finds it necessary to borrow funds occasionally. This was the case on the fateful day of January 14th, 1953.
He returned home from work to find is wife is miserable pain with a tooth ache. Needing her wisdom teeth removed and knowing they had no savings, Manny decides to borrow on her insurance policy. As he visits the insurance office, three of the women mistakenly identify him as the man who has recently robbed the office. Manny has no clue and is satisfied when he is told he can have the loan. With that, he is on his way to visit his ailing father and then home to give his boys a music lesson. He makes it to mom and pop's house but doesn't quite make it home.
Manny is stopped on the steps of his apartment by two police officers who politely but sternly request his presence at the 110th precinct. There he is detained by Lt. bowers (Harold J. Stone) and his attentive sidekick, Detective Matthews (Charles Cooper). They question him for some time and then drive him around to the previous hold up spots. Several of the victims also identify him as the thief. Manny is taken back to the station and asked to write the narrated words from a holdup note used in the robberies. He readily agrees knowing he is not guilty. He completes the first note and is asked to write it again from dictation. Though the printing is not an exact match, the same misspelled word fingers him for the crimes. Manny's simple mistake is the beginning of a long drawn out nightmare that will plague his whole family.
With this flimsy evidence, he is booked, fingerprinted and mug shots snapped. After this degrading ordeal, he is carted off to the Queens prison. In the meantime, his family has been frantically searching for him. They finally discover what fate has befallen him when his brother-in-law, Gene Conforti (Nehemiah Persoff) and his wife Olga (Lola D'Annunzio) trace his whereabouts. They also post bail to set him free. While they were working on that, Rose contacts a highly recommended attorney by the name of Frank D. O'Conner (Anthony Quayle). After the couples first visit to him, he sympathizes and agrees to take the case.
One of the first things the attorney suggests is for the couple to trace their footsteps on the days that Manny has been accused. Manny and Rose remember that they were on vacation during the first string of robberies. They proceed to the hotel in hopes of finding witnesses. The clerk offers up a few names but they come up as dead ends. Literally as both of the witnesses have passed away recently. The couple again visits Mr. O'Conner and tells him of the bad news. At this point it becomes apparent that Rose is under too much strain. When she and Manny arrive home, she collapses and is placed in a mental institution to recover. Her recovery would take more than two years.
During this time, Manny's trial is occurring. He is also under a great strain but continues to press on with his loyal attorney defending him through the whole ordeal. The strain is also beginning to show on the jurors. So much so that one of them has an outburst during the trial and a mistrial occurs. Manny isn't sure he can go through the whole thing again. This worry may be unfounded as the real robber, Daniel (Richard Robbins) is beginning to get low on funds again.
The review of this Movie prepared by Talea
THE WRONG MAN, based on a true story, is a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1956.
Manny Balestrero, a musician at the Stork club, is arrested while coming home from work. Balestrero, though innocent of any crime, is believed to be responsible for the recent hold-ups committed in the neighborhood. He is categorically recognized by several employees of the incriminated stores and his handwriting looks like the robber's.
On the next day, Balestrero is charged of robbery by the judge and his sister pays the $7,500 bail to free him. Then Rose Balestrero, Manny's wife, has a severe nervous breakdown and must be locked in an institution. Furthermore, the only persons who could have testified that he was with them at the time of one of the hold-ups have recently died. When his trial begins, Manny can only count on his good faith to convince the jury of his innocence.
The review of this Movie prepared by Daniel Staebler