Never Love a Stranger


1h 30m 1958

Film Details

Release Date
May 4, 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
M & A Alexander Productions
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New York, New York, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Never Love a Stranger by Harold Robbins (New York, 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
8,210ft

Synopsis

Frank Kane is shot in a New York City 12th Avenue garage, but manages to drive away before dying behind the wheel and crashing into a cement wall. Years earlier, in 1912, before Frank was born, Frances Kane, his pregnant mother, struggles to a boardinghouse run by Italian Mrs. Cozzolina. Mrs. Cozzolina puts her suitcase in a closet, but it accidentally falls behind a shelf and is forgotten after Frank's mother dies in childbirth. The baby is named Francis, after his mother, and is sent to the Orphanage of St. Therese. In the spring of 1928, Frank works as a shoeshine boy and gets a big tip from gangster "Silk" Fennelli, who runs a protection and numbers racket in the local speakeasies. One day Frank, who still lives at the orphanage, encounters some neighborhood friends beating up Martin Cabell because he is Jewish. Frank comes to Marty's defense and Marty invites him over to his house to teach him how to fight. Frank falls in love with Marty's housekeeper, Julie, and becomes a "ratboy," collecting money for Silk's numbers racket. One day, Mrs. Cozzolina arrives at the Orphanage of St. Therese, and gives Brother Bernard the suitcase belonging to Frances Kane, which she discovered in the closet. Inside the suitcase is a Jewish Bible, and the church board votes to send Frank to a Jewish school because of a law that states orphans must be placed among people with the same religious beliefs. Frank, meanwhile, is with Silk when he is shot by a rival gang, and Silk asks him to keep the $500 he has collected until he gets medical treatment. When Bernard, who has been like a father to Frank, informs Frank that the orphanage is sending him away because they have discovered he is Jewish, Frank feels betrayed, and refuses to accept his heritage. Frank goes to Julie and asks her to return the money to Silk, and leaves a marker for twenty dollars. He then runs away and hops a freight train. Silk takes an interest in Julie and pays for her singing lessons. In time, she becomes a nightclub performer, while Marty goes to college and earns his degree as a lawyer. However, Frank becomes an itinerant worker, and years of hard-living turn his hair gray. After working on many ships and docks, Frank returns to New York, taking hand-outs from soup kitchens, and working one day a week for the W.P.A. In 1935, Frank is accidentally hit by a truck while he is working, and Marty discovers him at the hospital. Frank bitterly asks Marty to forget that he ever saw him, but accepts twenty dollars, which he uses to pay his old marker to Silk. Silk immediately hires Frank, who is stunned to discover that Julie is the racketeer's lover. That day, Silk's rival, "Fats" Crown, tries to take over his racket, but Frank takes him and his thugs unawares and kills Fats. Over the course of the next two years, Frank and Silk engage in territorial battles with rival gangsters, until Frank suggests a way of ending the war. Silk calls a meeting of all the heavyweights, but to his surprise, Frank takes control of the meeting and appoints himself "commissioner" of the gangs. Frank insists that the gangsters form a peaceful network among themselves so they do not drive themselves out of business. Silk is the only person to protest, and Frank quiets him with a fist. Frank operates his gambling racket in New Jersey until the governor publicly declares war against him. Marty, as special prosecutor for the district attorney, is appointed to bring him to justice. One night, Marty and Frank meet alone in a roadside tavern, where Marty asks Frank to give himself up. Frank refuses and returns the twenty dollars he borrowed years earlier. Frank is unafraid of the threat of arrest, but Silk organizes the other gangsters against him because he is afraid Frank's cavalier attitude will also bring them down. Julie and Frank reunite and hide from Silk, who calls the police after Frank shows up at Julie's nightclub. One day, Frank's racketeer friend Moishe Moscowitz seeks his help in retiring. When he asks Frank if he is Jewish, Frank replies only that "some people say so," and urges Moishe to leave town quietly before the other racketeers learn of his retirement plans. Bernard comes to see Frank and brings him his mother's Bible, which he refused to accept years earlier. Bernard urges Frank to accept his heritage and reject his criminal life, but Frank refuses to heed him. Silk kidnaps Moishe, and hires a professional killer named Flix, who takes Frank and Julie hostage. Flix forces Frank to send for Marty, planning to frame Frank for Marty's murder, then kill them. When Marty arrives, however, Frank attacks Flix, and Marty reluctantly allows his prey to leave so he can rescue Moishe. Frank kills Silk after the gangster shoots him in the back, then struggles to his car intending to go to Julie, but dies before he reaches her. Later, Bernard receives a letter from Julie in which she tells him that she has given birth to Frank's illegitimate son, and now asks Bernard to provide the boy with the fatherly love that Frank never knew.

Film Details

Release Date
May 4, 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
M & A Alexander Productions
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New York, New York, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Never Love a Stranger by Harold Robbins (New York, 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
8,210ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

As noted in news items and reviews, Never Love a Stranger was shot on location in New York City. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the film: Mollie Ann Bourn, Gloria Kristy and Jov Manson, but their appearance in the finished film has not been determined.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 1958

Released in United States Summer June 1958