7.2/10
1,274
19 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 »
Learn more

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Butch
...
Warden
...
Kent
...
Anne
...
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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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

Lon Chaney was originally cast in the role of Butch Schmidt. Due to his untimely illness, the role was given to Wallace Beery. See more »

Goofs

The position of Wallace Beery'd head in relation to the wall in the letter sequence with Morris. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt: Who, me?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Public Hero #1 (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(1862) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel Butterfield
Played offscreen by a bugler
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good Story, Though A Bit Hokey
7 August 2000 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I thought this film was very strong from the story angle -- the main characters are not cliches and a relatively happy ending is contrived in a relatively believable way.

Still, there is some rather hokey preaching from the warden, which feels more like "social commentary" from the writer than believable dialogue from the character. And the "comic relief" of a stuttering convict falls flat.

Also, somewhat strangely, I didn't see any black faces in any of the shots that actually involve dialogue, or even in medium-long shots of say a dozen or so prisoners. But when you get extreme long shots, suddenly all sorts of black prisoners appear. I'm not sure if this accurately reflected segregation in prisons, racism in filmmaking, or a continuity problem.


9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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