There is a certain irony in this excerpt from the novel by Italo-American Pietro Di Donato, Christ in Concrete (1939), a story of Italian immigrant building workers and their families in Brooklyn during the Depression. In 1949 a film adaptation of the novel by director Edward Dmytryk, featured teeming tenements and residential streets shot with a provocatively gritty realism and film noir atmospherics. A powerful leftist denunciation of capitalism, the picture had to be filmed in the UK, and was buried a few days after its US release by a reactionary backlash. The film is the closest an Anglo-American movie ever got to the aesthetic and socialist outlook of Italian neo-realism. My review of the movie last Easter is here.
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