USA Today - 09/17/2004
"[B]oth leads are superb, and Miles' emotional disintegration is unforgettable."
Description by OLDIES.com:
The Wrong Man is like and unlike any other Alfred Hitchcock movie. The story packs tension, the images are spellbinding and the dilemma genuinely frightening. But this time the master of suspense dramatizes the harrowing true experiences of a man tried for crimes committed by a look-alike robber.
Henry Fonda plays musician Manny Balestrero, a man full of visible but unspoken rage at his wrongful arrest. Vera Miles is his distraught wife Rose, driven to madness by the ordeal. And the right man to bring the unsettling facts of the case to vivid screen life with documentary precision is Hitchcock. He made New York City a star of the film and cast real-life Balestrero case witnesses in small roles. He shot in many actual locations, amongst them the Stork Club, Manny's jail cell and Rose's sanitarium.
A bleak and powerful drama, THE WRONG MAN tells the story of an innocent man accused of a crime committed by a close look-alike. Based on an actual incident reported in Life magazine, the film is the only documentary-style film Alfred Hitchcock made. THE WRONG MAN presented audiences with a radical change of style after Hitchcock's more lighthearted and conventional productions, such as THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and TO CATCH A THIEF. The story begins as Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) and his wife, Rose (Vera Miles), decide to borrow on her life insurance policy to pay medical bills. But at the insurance office, three employees mistake Manny for a man who robbed them just days earlier. That night, he's arrested and charged with a series of hold-ups, setting in motion an innocent man's desperate attempt to prove his innocence. Fonda gives a strong performance, while Miles powerfully conveys the psychological cost to the accused man's wife. The film features an exceptional musical score by Bernard Hermann.
Alfred Hitchcock's suspenseful drama is based on the true story of a New York musician falsely accused of murder. Manny Balestrero, a bass fiddle player at a New York hot spot, heads home to his wife and two children late one evening. When he arrives, Rose tells Manny she needs an expensive medical procedure--one which the family cannot afford. So they agree to borrow money on her life insurance policy. But at the insurance office, three employees mistake Manny for a man who robbed them just days earlier. That night, he's arrested and charged with a series of hold-ups. Thus begins an honest man's desperate struggle to prove his innocence.
Hitchcock cameo: The director's trademark cameo does not occur during the film but takes the form of an introductory prologue emphasizing the veracity of the story, for which Hitchcock used many of the actual locations. Hitchcock narrates the prologue.
THE WRONG MAN is based on a true story featured in Life magazine.
Hitchcock strove to be faithful to the original story, using many of the actual locations, including the Stork Club, police station, and asylum.
This is the first of Vera Miles's two appearances in Hitchcock films. She also stars in PSYCHO.