7.2/10
1,296
21 user 21 critic

The Big House (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 14 June 1930 (USA)
A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences.

Directors:

(as George Hill), (uncredited)

Writers:

(story and dialogue), (additional dialogue) (as Joe Farnham) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Machine Gun 'Butch' Schmidt
...
Warden James Adams
...
Kent Marlowe
...
Anne Marlowe
...
Pop
J.C. Nugent ...
Mr. Marlowe
...
Olsen
...
Wallace
Matthew Betz ...
Gopher (as Mathew Betz)
...
Mrs. Marlowe
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Donlin (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
...
Uncle Jed (scenes deleted)
Tom Wilson ...
Sandy
Eddie Foyer ...
Dopey
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Storyline

After a manslaughter conviction from drunk driving, nice but foolish Kent is sent to a prison over-crowded and unable to properly deal with it's inmates. There he meets veteran criminals like Morgan and his hardened pal Butch. And the system punishes them all, turning them against each other and bringing out the worst. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Timely! Tremendous! Thrilling! Drama of Love and a Jail-Break!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 June 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big House  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Frances Marion toured prison facilities and interviewed prisoners and prison personnel to research her screenplay. See more »

Goofs

When Anne comes to visit Kent at the prison, and he walks up and says 'Hi sis,' the shadow of the microphone falls across her. See more »

Quotes

'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt: How's all the dames outside? See my initials carved on many bed posts?
See more »


Soundtracks

Ring the Bells of Heaven
(1866) (uncredited)
Music by George Frederick Root
Words by William O. Cushing
Sung by the Prisoners in Chapel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good prison film
15 December 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Kent (Robert Montgomery) arrives in prison and is put in a cell with Butch (Wallace Beery) and Morgan (Chester Morris), a couple of hardened criminals who run the place. Kent is warned by them to choose his friends wisely. He doesn't.

This is a strange film in that it starts out as Kent's story but gradually turns into Morgan's story. The film moves at a good pace climaxing in the attempted escape where old pals Butch and Morgan have a final confrontation. Robert Montgomery is a wimp/coward/creep in this film while Wallace Beery is the thug.

It's an enjoyable film with a touch of romance thrown in by the storyline involving Anne (Leila Hyams) and Morgan. Morgan escapes and hangs out with Anne and her family. She is Kent's sister. There are tense moments involving him and the policeman that finally re-arrests him. Morgan maintains a smart outlook throughout the film and goes out of his way to protect Kent even though Morgan knows what a traitor Kent has been. Shagging his sister must only increase his inner torment as to what he should do. It all works out nicely in the end!


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