The Garment Jungle (1957)

88 mins | Drama | June 1957

Writer:

Harry Kleiner

Producer:

Harry Kleiner

Cinematographer:

Joseph Biroc

Editor:

William Lyon

Production Designer:

Robert Peterson

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Garment Center . The picture opens with an offscreen narrator describing the garment district as a "teaming jungle of conflict and terror." According to Aug and Sep HR news items, Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda were both considered for the role of "Alan," and Elaine Stritch was to appear as "Lee Hackett." According to a Dec 1956 HR news item, Robert Aldrich directed the film until 30 Nov 1956, at which time he was stricken by the flu. Vincent Sherman was then hired as the fill-in director. Fearing that Aldrich might be suffering from an extended illness, the studio decided to replace him permanently with Sherman. An Oct 1956 ^HR news item states that Aldrich appeared as a taxi driver during the cab scene with "Alan" and "Theresa." Although a Nov 1956 HR news item places Walda Winchell, Walter Winchell's daughter, in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Although Nov 1956 HR news items place Don C. Harvey , Irving Gold, Joanna Barnes and Flo Vinsen in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The Var review notes that the funeral in the film was actual newsreel footage from the funeral of a slain union leader. Other HR news items add that location filming was done in Manhattan and in the Los Angeles garment district. ... More Less

The working title of this film was Garment Center . The picture opens with an offscreen narrator describing the garment district as a "teaming jungle of conflict and terror." According to Aug and Sep HR news items, Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda were both considered for the role of "Alan," and Elaine Stritch was to appear as "Lee Hackett." According to a Dec 1956 HR news item, Robert Aldrich directed the film until 30 Nov 1956, at which time he was stricken by the flu. Vincent Sherman was then hired as the fill-in director. Fearing that Aldrich might be suffering from an extended illness, the studio decided to replace him permanently with Sherman. An Oct 1956 ^HR news item states that Aldrich appeared as a taxi driver during the cab scene with "Alan" and "Theresa." Although a Nov 1956 HR news item places Walda Winchell, Walter Winchell's daughter, in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Although Nov 1956 HR news items place Don C. Harvey , Irving Gold, Joanna Barnes and Flo Vinsen in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The Var review notes that the funeral in the film was actual newsreel footage from the funeral of a slain union leader. Other HR news items add that location filming was done in Manhattan and in the Los Angeles garment district. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 May 1957.
---
Daily Variety
24 Apr 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Apr 57
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1956
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1956
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1956
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1956
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 1956
p. 1, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1956
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1957
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 57
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Apr 57
p. 354.
New York Times
16 May 57
p. 28.
Variety
24 Apr 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Rec supv
Sd ed
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to Robert Aldrich
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the article "Gangsters in the Dress Business" by Lester Velie in Readers Digest (Jul 1955).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Garment Center
Release Date:
June 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 May 1957
Production Date:
13 October--7 December 1956
retakes mid December 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9004
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Self-made businessman Walter Mitchell, the owner of Roxton Fashions, vehemently opposes the entreaties of his partner, Fred Kenner, to allow their workers to join the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. Kenner’s organizing efforts earn him the enmity of a group of anti-union hoodlums known as “The Edge,” who are paid by the clothing manufacturers to keep the union out of their shops. One day, Kenner unwittingly steps into an elevator that has been rigged to crash by The Edge and falls twenty-seven floors to his death. Soon after, Walter’s estranged son Alan returns home after living several years overseas and asks to go into business with his father. When Walter states that he would prefer his son to stay out of the business, Alan feels rejected. Trying to patch up the rift between father and son, Walter’s romantic interest, Lee Hackett, an influential clothing buyer, convinces Walter, with whom she is romantically involved, to welcome Alan into Roxton Fashions. Alan is then given a tour by Tony, the shop foreman, and when one of the workers complains about low wages, Tony threatens to fire him. Soon after, union organizer Tulio Renata enters the workshop and accuses Walter of paying Artie Ravidge, the ruthless head of The Edge, to suppress the union. Frustrated by his father’s refusal to discuss Tulio’s accusations, Alan goes to union headquarters and meets Tulio, Tulio’s concerned wife Theresa and their baby daughter Maria. At first contemptuous of the “boss’s son,” Tulio gradually comes to respect Alan’s sincerity. Later, at a secret Union meeting, Dave Bronson, the head of the organizing committee, warns that unionized ... +


Self-made businessman Walter Mitchell, the owner of Roxton Fashions, vehemently opposes the entreaties of his partner, Fred Kenner, to allow their workers to join the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. Kenner’s organizing efforts earn him the enmity of a group of anti-union hoodlums known as “The Edge,” who are paid by the clothing manufacturers to keep the union out of their shops. One day, Kenner unwittingly steps into an elevator that has been rigged to crash by The Edge and falls twenty-seven floors to his death. Soon after, Walter’s estranged son Alan returns home after living several years overseas and asks to go into business with his father. When Walter states that he would prefer his son to stay out of the business, Alan feels rejected. Trying to patch up the rift between father and son, Walter’s romantic interest, Lee Hackett, an influential clothing buyer, convinces Walter, with whom she is romantically involved, to welcome Alan into Roxton Fashions. Alan is then given a tour by Tony, the shop foreman, and when one of the workers complains about low wages, Tony threatens to fire him. Soon after, union organizer Tulio Renata enters the workshop and accuses Walter of paying Artie Ravidge, the ruthless head of The Edge, to suppress the union. Frustrated by his father’s refusal to discuss Tulio’s accusations, Alan goes to union headquarters and meets Tulio, Tulio’s concerned wife Theresa and their baby daughter Maria. At first contemptuous of the “boss’s son,” Tulio gradually comes to respect Alan’s sincerity. Later, at a secret Union meeting, Dave Bronson, the head of the organizing committee, warns that unionized shops are threatening to drop out of the union unless all the rest of the manufacturers join. Soon after, Ravidge’s thugs, alerted by a union traitor, arrive and assault Tulio and Bronson. The next day, as pickets march outside Roxton Fashions, Ravidge assures Walter that the union will never gain a foothold in his shop. When Alan enters the office and calls Ravidge a thug, Ravidge protests that he is just selling protection, not coercion. To dispute Ravidge’s claim, Alan ushers in the bruised and beaten Tulio, but Walter still defiantly declares that he will never unionize his business. Disgusted by his father’s short-sightedness, Alan storms out of the office. When the union calls on the truckers to boycott Roxton, Tulio joins the picket line. Aware that Tulio’s life is in danger, Alan goes to warn him, and soon after, Theresa, concerned about her husband’s safety, also joins the picket line. Tulio asks Alan to take Theresa home, but she insists on waiting for her husband at a nearby bar. There, Theresa explains that Tulio was inspired by his late father’s abiding concern for worker’s rights. Theresa’s words cause Alan to feel guilty about turning against his own father. After a truck crashes through the picket line, Ravidge’s thugs climb out, and three traitors to the union then pin Tulio to the wall as the thugs stab him. Cowering in the shadows, George Kovan, one of the pickets, witnesses the attack and runs to the bar for help. After hearing Kovan’s story, Theresa rushes to her husband, who dies in her arms. When Walter questions Ravidge about the incident, Ravidge claims that Tulio pulled a knife and was killed by someone acting in self-defense. On the day of Tulio’s funeral, clothing factories are closed throughout the garment districts as workers attend services to honor Tulio’s memory and protest his murder. No longer able to live in the apartment she shared with her husband, Theresa moves in with her mother-in-law. Kovan, wracked with guilt for failing to come to Tulio’s defense, comes forward to testify about the murder, but soon crumbles under Ravidge’s threats, and the case is dismissed for lack of evidence. Upon discovering that Tulio’s betrayers have returned to work, Alan immediately fires them. When Ravidge insists that they be rehired, Walter, finally realizing Ravidge’s complicity in the murders of Kenner and Tulio, breaks his ties with The Edge. Walter then tells Alan that he intends to provide the district attorney with records that will incriminate Ravidge. After Walter agrees to unionize the factory, father and son reconcile and make plans to meet for dinner. Later, as Alan works in his office, he hears gunfire and finds his father lying dead on the workshop floor. At the funeral, Lee tells Alan that she has Walter’s books and arranges to deliver them later that night. When Alan escorts Theresa home from the funeral, they find an over-turned baby carriage in the street, sending Theresa flying up the stairs to assure the safety of little Maria. As Ravidge’s thugs wait in a car outside Theresa’s building, Lee receives a threatening phone call warning her to stay out of the Mitchell case. Early the next morning, a man disguised as a milkman delivers Walter’s records to Theresa’s door. The apartment has no phone, and so Alan risks his life to run to the corner to notify the police. Before reaching the corner, Alan is accosted by Ravidge’s men, who force him into the car and drive off. One stays behind to watch Theresa, who slips the books into a shopping bag and descends the stairs to the street. Chased by the thug, Theresa runs back upstairs, climbs out onto the fire escape and jumps across the rooftops. Alan is brought to Roxton, where he finds Ravidge ransacking his father’s desk. When Ravidge announces that he is taking control of the business, Alan informs him that he is in possession of his father’s books. As Ravidge tries to beat Alan into submission, Theresa arrives with the police, who arrest Ravidge. Alan then welcomes the union to Roxton Fashions. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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