Synopsis by Steve Press
Vincent Sherman replaced an uncredited Robert Aldrich as director of this noirish and atypically pro-union film from the 1950's. Tulio Renata (Robert Loggia), an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, campaigns to unionize the employees of dress factory owner Walter Mitchell (Lee J. Cobb). Viscerally opposed to the union, Mitchell has hired Artie Ravidge (Richard Boone) to thwart Renata's efforts. In a complex oedipal sub-plot, Walter's son Alan (Kerwin Matthews) returns home and joins the firm following the suspicious death of his father's partner. Alan is more sympathetic to the union and attempts to persuade his father to sign a contract. Only after Ravidge kills Renata, and the elder Mitchell finally admits to himself that Ravidge is a thug who also killed his partner, does he agree to negotiate with the union. Before he can do so, however, he, too, is murdered by Ravidge's goons. It is then left to Alan, increasingly involved with Renata's widow Theresa (Gia Scala), to run the business, bring Ravidge to justice, and settle with the union. Similar to Herbert Biberman's Salt of the Earth (1954) in its overt support of the labor movement, The Garment Jungle is clearly a liberal, not a radical, film. Rather than advocate class warfare, it asserts that honest unions and decent capitalists can work together honorably. The film's real fire is found in the personal conflicts between Tulio and Theresa and Walter and Alan. Cobb, Loggia, and Scala perform with intense and multi-dimensional passion. Particularly noteworthy is Theresa's fury at her husband for taking excessive, and ultimately fatal, risks.
business, corruption, criminal, District-Attorney, family-member, father, gangster, help, industry, killing, labor-relations, leader, mob-boss, organized-crime, owner, partner, police, record [world record], revenge, romance, son, syndicate, union [labor union], veteran [military], violence