AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Damned Don't Cry
Alternate Title: The Victim
Director: Vincent Sherman (Dir)
Release Date:   13 May 1950
Production Date:   late Sep--late Nov 1949
Duration (in mins):   102-103
Duration (in feet):   9,272
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Cast:   Joan Crawford (Ethel Whitehead, also known as Lorna Hansen Forbes)  
    David Brian (George Castleman, formerly known as Joe Cavany)  
    Steve Cochran (Nick Prenta)  
    Kent Smith (Martin Blackford)  
    Hugh Sanders (Grady)  
    Selena Royle (Patricia Longworth)  
    Jacqueline de Wit (Sandra)  
    Morris Ankrum (Mr. Whitehead)  
    Edith Evanson (Mrs. Castleman)  
    Richard Egan (Roy)  
    Jimmy Moss (Tommy)  
    Sara Perry (Mrs. Whitehead)  
    Eddie Marr (Wally Talbot)  
    Allen E. Smith (Surveyor)  
    Jamesson Shade (Sheriff)  
    Tom Greenway (Deputy)  
    Don Forbes (Radio commentator)  
    Forrest Dixon (Woman on street)  
    Warren Mace (Reporter)  
    Paul McGuire (Reporter)  
    Dabbs Greer (Reporter)  
    Charles Jordan (Editor)  
    Herschel Dougherty (Rewrite man)  
    Ned Glass (Taxi driver)  
    Duke Watson (Hardware man)  
    Lee Miller (Jalopy driver)  
    Kathryn Card (Mrs. Sullivan)  
    David Leonard (Barney Green)  
    Ralph Sanford (Norman Riley)  
    Herb Vigran (Vito Maggio)  
    Tris Coffin (Maitre d'hotel)  
    Weldon Heyburn (Butler)  
    Crane Whitley (Malloy)  
    Diane DeLaire (Castleman's secretary)  
    Paul Bradley (Delivery boy)  
    William E. Green (Agent )  
    Hugh Murray (Alfred, the houseman)  
    Rory Mallinson (Johnny Enders)  
    Keith Richards (Croupier)  
    Herb Lytton (Attendent)  
    Leon Lontoc (Filipino house boy)  
    Bob Alden (Messenger)  
    Lyle Latell (Trooper)  
    John Maxwell (Doctor)  
    Blanche Taylor    
    Sam Fisher    
    Jack Gargan    
    Earl Breitbard    
    George Baxter    
    Paul Weber    

Summary: After the body of well-known racketeer and gambler Nick Prenta is found in Desert Springs, California, the investigating sheriff discovers some home movies in Prenta's house and identifies oil heiress Lorna Hansen Forbes, who has been renting a house in the area, as one of Prenta's guests. When the sheriff tries to question Lorna, however, he learns that she has left town. On further investigation, it becomes evident that the woman has been using a pseudonym and is not who she claims. In fact, her real name is Ethel Whitehead, and she has returned to her poverty-stricken parents, who live in the Texas oil fields. There she remembers her earlier life: Living with her parents and married to Roy, with a young son named Tommy, Ethel is dissatisfied with her life. After Tommy is killed in an automobile accident, Ethel leaves home. In New York City, where she finds a job selling cigars, Ethel meets Wally Talbot, a dress salesman, and soon is working as a dress model. Part of her job is to accompany out-of-town buyers to Grady's, a local gambling club. Later, Ethel meets Martin Blackford, the dress company's accountant, who takes her to dinner at Grady's. After Martin gives Grady some financial advice, Ethel finagles a permanent job for him with the gambler. Grady introduces Martin to other friends of his, and eventually, invites him to a meeting at the home of George Castleman, the head of the syndicate. Although women are not invited, Ethel accompanies Martin, but Castleman will not allow her to attend the actual meeting. Martin is disturbed when he learns the nature of Castleman's business, but Ethel convinces him to take the job he has been offered as a front for a bookie wire service. The following day, Ethel visits Castleman at his office and reveals that she knows he used to be a small-time hood named Joe Cavany. Impressed by her boldness, Castleman offers Ethel a job. Later Ethel turns down Martin's marriage proposal, even though he only agreed to work for Castleman for her sake, because she has fallen in love with the married Castleman. Castleman then hires socialite Patricia Longworth to give Ethel social polish and, using the name Lorna Hansen Forbes, Ethel becomes Castleman's mistress and hostess. When Castleman becomes suspicious of the loyalty of his west coast representative, Nick Prenta, he sends Ethel to California to spy on him. Unexpectedly, Ethel and Nick fall in love, and she neglects to report on his activities. One day, Martin flies to California to warn Ethel that a jealous Castleman intends to kill Nick. That night, Nick holds a meeting to announce his plans to form a rival syndicate. Ethel is recognized by one of the men, and after she leaves, he tells Nick about her relationship with Castleman. When Ethel returns home, Castleman is waiting, but she pretends to know nothing about the meeting until Castleman beats the information out of her. Castleman then forces Ethel to lure Nick to her house so that he can kill him, but before she can telephone, Nick drives up, planning to confront her about her relationship with Castleman, and is killed in her house. Ethel flees to her parents, where she now waits for Castleman to track her down. Martin follows her there, hoping to help her, but before they can escape, Castleman arrives. Martin kills Castleman and Ethel is wounded. Later, a group of reporters speculate that she will again try to leave her past behind. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Brand Name: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Vincent Sherman (Dir)
  Al Alleborn (Asst dir)
Producer: Jerry Wald (Prod)
Writer: Harold Medford (Scr)
  Jerome Weidman (Scr)
  Gertrude Walker (Story)
Photography: Ted McCord (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Robert Haas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Rudi Fehr (Film ed)
Set Decoration: William L. Kuehl (Set dec)
Costumes: Sheila O'Brien (Ward)
Music: Maurice de Packh (Orch)
  Ray Heindorf (Mus dir)
  Daniele Amfitheatrof (Mus)
Sound: C. A. Riggs (Sd)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 3/5/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP125

PCA NO: 14169
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Crime
Subjects (Major): Ambition
  Impersonation and imposture
Subjects (Minor): Accountants
  Automobile accidents
  New York City
  Oil fields

Note: The film's working title was The Victim . Richard Egan made his film debut in this picture. Some scenes were filmed on location in Palm Springs, CA. According to production notes included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, Frank Sinatra's Palm Springs house was used to film the scenes set at "Nick Prenta's" desert home. Other scenes were filmed at the Shadow Mountain Club and the Lone Palm Inn in Palm Springs. On 5 Apr 1951, a version of the story was broadcast on the Screen Directors' Playhouse. It starred Joan Crawford and Frank Lovejoy. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   15 Apr 1950.   
Daily Variety   6 Apr 50   p. 3.
Film Daily   11 Apr 50   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Sep 49   p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Nov 49   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Nov 49   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Apr 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   15 Apr 50   p. 263.
New York Times   8 Apr 50   p. 9.
Variety   12 Apr 50   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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