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Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960)

Approved | | Drama | October 1960 (USA)
In this sequel to "Knock On Any Door", the residents of a Chicago tenement building band together to insure that the son of Nick Romano does not follow in his father's footsteps...to the electric chair.

Director:

Philip Leacock
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Burl Ives ... Judge Bruce Mallory Sullivan
Shelley Winters ... Nellie Romano
James Darren ... Nick Romano
Jean Seberg ... Barbara Holloway
Ricardo Montalban ... Louie Ramponi
Ella Fitzgerald ... Flora
Rodolfo Acosta ... Max (as Rudolph Acosta)
Philip Ober ... Grant Holloway
Jeanne Cooper ... Fran
Bernie Hamilton ... Goodbye George
Walter Burke ... Wart
Francis De Sales ... Night Court Magistrate
Michael Davis ... Nick Romano - as a Child
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Storyline

In this sequel to "Knock On Any Door", the residents of a Chicago tenement building band together to insure that the son of Nick Romano does not follow in his father's footsteps...to the electric chair.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

6 Exciting Stars in an Exciting Story! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reach for Tomorrow See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lana Turner originally sought for lead role played by Shelley Winters. See more »

Goofs

After begging Bobbie and her father to leave his apartment, Nick slams the door shut, making the wall shake. See more »

Quotes

Judge Bruce Mallory Sullivan: I was just thinking of the beauty and charm of life here on West Madison.
Wart: Yeah, you'll get used to it Judge, when you've been here as long as we have.
Judge Bruce Mallory Sullivan: Some place to bring up a boy. Deadbeats hanging round every corner. Hopheads, begging, borrowing, stealing to buy a few cc's of delirium.
Fran: Come on, Judge, don't do that.
Judge Bruce Mallory Sullivan: Nick won't have a chance. By the time he's twelve he'll have the soul of toadstool. Somebody has to tell her. Nellie needs help, if Nick's gonna make it.
Fran: Well, I will, I'll help.
Judge Bruce Mallory Sullivan: ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References The Last Angry Man (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel Eyes
(uncredited)
Written by Matt Dennis and Earl K. Brent
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Happiness Is a Warm Gun
14 April 2008 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

James Darren (as Nick "Nicky" Romano) grows up innocently, in the slums of Chicago. He's the illegitimate son of the original "Nick Romano", from "Knock on Any Door" (1949). Gin-medicating mom Shelley Winters (as Nellie Romano) does the best she can raising Mr. Darren; she hopes his musical talent will help him to achieve a better life, unlike his father. Ms. Winters, to her credit, organizes a nurturing group of deadbeats. Chief among them is boozing co-dependent judge Burl Ives (as Bruce M. Sullivan). Together, they raise Darren well, but the Chicago underworld threatens to drag him down…

Interesting "sequel" (of sorts); actually, this is an adaptation of Willard Motley third novel, "Let No Man Write My Epitaph", which was a follow-up to his first, "Knock on Any Door". The earlier film starred John Derek and Humphrey Bogart, and lacked much of the realism needed to accurately tell the story. There are some allusions to the earlier film; the shot of the adult Romano (Darren) ascending a stairway recalls the earlier film, as does a picture of the original Romano. This film is much better scripted; and, importantly, Chicago denizens could be shown selling, and using, Heroin. The drug use becomes a very big part of the picture.

This film isn't without flaws; and, for most of the early running time, it teeters so close to plodding, soapy melodrama, you might get disenchanted. However, growing characterizations from the three leads, and nice location photography, enhance the production. Additionally, there are good supporting performances; from, for example, smarmy Ricardo Montalban (as Louie) and legless Walter Burke (as Wart). And, of course, Ella Fitzgerald (as Flora) sings beautifully.

Around the time (at about 1:11) Mr. Ives has a saloon scene with Ms. Fitzgerald in the background (after a fix), the film really takes off. Situations become significantly more obvious. Darren, Winters, and Ives have big dramatic, well-played scenes. The intensity of the film heightens, to quite a very exciting conclusion.

******* Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) Phillip Leacock ~ James Darren, Shelley Winters, Burl Ives


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