Give Us This Day (October 14, 1949)
Released on October 14, 1949: Five Italian-American men search for their American Dream in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City.
Produced by Rod E. Geiger and Nat A. Bronstein
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Written by Peitro Di Donato with screenplay by Ben Barzman, Hans Szekely and John Penn
The Actors: Sam Wanamaker (Geremio), Lea Padovani (Annuziata), Kathleen Ryan (Kathleen), Charles Goldner (Luigi), Bonar Colleano (Julio), William Sylvester (Giovanni), George Pastell (the lucy), Philo Hauser (head of pig), Sidney James (Murdin), Karel Stepanek (Jaroslav), Ina De La Haye (Dame Katrarina), Rosalie Crutchley (Julio's wife), Ronan O'Casey (Bastian), Robert Rietty (Peitro), Charles Moffat (Pasquale), Phil Brown (unknown), Carole Shelley (unknown)
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Five Sticks in a Bundle
It was a warm August afternoon and I was visiting my sister Joyce and her husband Blair near Meadville, Pennsylvania. We were looking at photos of our grandparents, and I asked if they ever noticed that the generation of Americans from the early 1900's rarely smiled when they had their picture taken. Blair quickly commented that during the tough days of the Great Depression there was very little to smile about. My Dad and Mom got married on September 29, 1929 . . . The financial markets were already rocking, and on October 29, on the one month anniversary of their wedding, America and the world entered the greatest crises that the industrialized world had ever seen. As a young boy I remember that Mom always cooked every meal from scratch, including the occasional cherry pie or apple cobbler, but Dad was the baker. A couple of times a year he would start with a bag of flour and the right ingredients and soon warm, walnut covered sticky-buns, what we now call cinnamon rolls, would come out of the oven and we would feast on them as Dad would tell about his baking days during the Great Depression. Dad would get up during the middle of the night and begin making loaves of bread and sticky buns and dinner rolls, and as the sun peeked it's head over the horizon he loaded the baked goods into his automobile that had no rubber tires, only the worn and bent rims, and drove the neighborhoods of Youngstown, Ohio, stopping in each block and knocking on every door trying to sell his baked goods. The money he earned from this provided not only for the flour, sugar and other ingredients for tomorrow's door-to-door sales, but enough to keep his young wife in food and clothing.
This story is about Italian Immigrants in New York City . . . Five men working as bricklayers to build their American Dream as the Great Depression hits the lives of the world, and the Italian-American community in New York City. Through thick and thin they stay together like five sticks in a bundle, trying to build a new life in America. Our leading man is Sam Wanamaker, who plays Geremio, one of the five men living in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan. Geremio sees the photograph of a young Italian girl and writes to her asking her to come to America and be his wife. I want to allow you to enjoy the story as it unfolds, so I will not go too far into describing this drama, but I will tell you that after a sobering view of Italian immigrants struggling for their piece of the American Dream, the ending will not be the happy ending that you are probably accustomed to . . . after all . . . This era is the Great Depression, and in real life there wasn't much to smile about. Pop a big bowl of popcorn anyway and enjoy a peek into the lives of hard-working men and women searching for their American Dream.
Bonar Colleano, Charles Moffat and Robert Rietty
Bonar Colleano, Sam Wanamaker and Charles Moffat
Bonar Colleano and Sam Wanamaker
Charles Goldner and Robert Rietty
Charles Goldner, Sam Wanamaker and Karel Stepanek
Kathleen Ryan and Sam Wanamaker
Sam Wanamaker and Charles Goldner
Sam Wanamaker and Lea Padovani on their wedding day
Sam Wanamaker and Lea Padovani
Sam Wanamaker and Robert Rietty
Sam Wanamaker and Sidney James