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Christ in Concrete
Christ in Concrete
Actors: Sam Wanamaker, Lea Padovani, Kathleen Ryan, Charles Goldner, Bonar Colleano
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2003     2hr 0min

In 1939, novelist Pietro di Donato wrote an incendiary novel called Christ in Concrete, a bestseller and Book of the Month selection about Italian-American immigrants working the construction trade in New York at the onset...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sam Wanamaker, Lea Padovani, Kathleen Ryan, Charles Goldner, Bonar Colleano
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Creators: Edward Dmytryk, Nat A. Bronstein, Rod E. Geiger, Ben Barzman, Hans Székely, John Penn, Pietro Di Donato
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 06/17/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1949
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1949
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Truly a classic
Jason C. Yi | Culver City, CA | 06/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although I thought the movie was less controversial in content than what the title and the description suggest, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The subject matter, which explores one man's downfall during the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s, has already been discussed in American films and novels, such as Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. What is very different about this film, however, is the dark and un-Hollywood way in which the protaganist meets his destiny. There's no Disney ending here. For a film that has been virtually destroyed and banned in the U.S., Christ in Concrete is palatable for a wide audience, and I would recommend it as a required viewing in a high school history class."
Christ in Concret
Steven Hellerstedt | 10/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Hollywood has never shown much dedication to social realism, and when it has it's usually set it within the context of crime and criminality. If it takes place in an urban setting the movie is about gangsters, in non-urban settings it cowboys gathering around a lynching. John Ford's 1940 `The Grapes of Wrath' is an exception that proves the rule. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Edward Dmytryk's powerful CHRIST IN CONCRETE (1949) was filmed in England, during a period in his career when Dmytryk was blacklisted by Hollywood.

Adapted from Pietro di Donato's novel, CHRIST IN CONCRETE is the story of Geremio (Sam Wanamaker), a bricklayer in New York City. The story takes place during the decade preceding the Great Depression. One day Geremio sees a photograph of an Italian family and declares, pointing at one of the young women in the photograph, "I want to marry her!" Soon Annuziata (Lea Padovani) is debarking in New York and the marriage indeed takes place. Annuziata's dream is to own a home, her great dream, and she came to America with the understanding that Geremio was a homeowner. Not quite. Geremio is saving money for a home, but work is spotty in these relative boon times. A bricklayer works maybe one week out of three. They will save, of course, but it will be a very long time before they have the $500 dollars needed to make the down payment on their dream home. Tragically, beyond their knowledge, their dream of a home is in a deadly race with a stock market that is on the verge of crashing and plunging the country into the Great Depression.

Such is the set-up for this unique film. There's a gritty, deep shadowed, urban realist look to CHRIST IN CONCRETE that's a bit at odds with the sometimes stilted dialogue and melodramatic treatment given to the material. Wanamaker is good as the man slowly being beaten down by the world. Padovani is transcendent as the oft-disappointed wife. In his biography Dmytryk says he'd never had the freedom as a director he enjoyed on CHRIST IN CONCRETE. If that's the case he should have been given a free rein more often. This is an impressive, deeply felt movie.

Also included on the dvd is a 30-minute `monodrama,' an orchestral piece writer by composer Harold Seletsky. A monodrama, the on-screen text tells us, is a `complex union of words and music.' Anyway, Eli Wallach narrates an adaptation of the piece, very dramatically, to a closely interwoven musical score. `Memories in Concrete' is a 30-minute dialogue between son Peter di Donato and film scholar Bill Wasserzieher which tells us the history of the play, book, and movie. `Home Movies' is a 26-minute compilation of videotapes and home movie films of Pietro di Donato presented as a montage. There's a circa 1990 videotape of di Donato at the Cooper Union, kibbitzing for 90-seconds with then New York City mayor Mario Cuomo in 1992, etc. I didn't find either the dialogue of the home movies all that illuminating. The Stills section contains a number of stills from the movie.

Backbone for America
Little Pazille | Columbia, Missouri United States | 11/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film was on Hollywood's blacklist & had been totally lost until recently. Based on Pietro Di Donato's novel it is the story of Southern Italians who came to America to secure jobs, family, and home.....the American dream.

Set in the 1920's this black and white DVD is the story of the young men who were the bricklayers for the buildings in New York. It takes place over several years, and begins with a traditional Italian wedding. The struggles these Italians endured in the 1920's and during the Depression show the hardships these men & women endured and the love, determination, and sacrifices they had to make."