Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: A Hatful of Rain

This week’s selection is the 1957 film A Hatful of Rain. The film stars Eva Marie Saint, Don Murray, Anthony Franciosa, and Lloyd Nolan. The film is based on the stageplay of the same name and was written by Michael V. Gazzo. He also adapted the play for the screen with an assist from Alfred Hayes and (then blacklisted Carl Foreman); Foreman was not to receive screen credit from the Writer’s Guild of America until 1998, 14 years after his death (source: Wikipedia).

The film was directed by Fred Zinnemann (From Here to Eternity, High Noon) with a musical score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator, Bernard Herrmann.


Why I Like This Film

It is part of that set of films in my estimation, that were starting to crop up in the late 1950’s (and into the 60’s) that attempted to take realistic look at issues plaguing contemporary society. In this case, the issue of drug addiction was the subject. Hatful of Rain is a poignant and heartbreaking account of a man, played by Don Murray, riddled with a heroin addiction he acquired while in a military hospital (he is a Korean War veteran).

His behavior is not known to his pregnant wife (Saint) or his recently-arrived father (Nolan) who, along with his brother (Franciosa – who knows what ails his brother), all live in the same cramped apartment.

What has touched me over the years about this story is not only the central theme of the battle the lead character in undergoing but also the toll it takes on those around him.

Two other items of interest:

1) A bit of trivia: Anthony Franciosa received an Academy Award nomination for his performance.

2) Unfortunately, this title is not available for purchase but it is definitely worth scouting on TCM or any other specialty movie channel.