Mary Dane and falsely imprisoned Bud Leonard love each other, but Lou Rinaldo, who framed Bud to get Mary, and escape-minded King Callahan, set events in motion to prove that love and ... See full summary »
Mary Dane and falsely imprisoned Bud Leonard love each other, but Lou Rinaldo, who framed Bud to get Mary, and escape-minded King Callahan, set events in motion to prove that love and justice will prevail. Written by
Arthur Hausner <email@example.com>
The opening credits, listing the jail characters only by their numbers, and an opening title card, grandly proclaiming how convicts give up the right to a name, promise a grim drama of men imprisoned, and railing against their fate. The director -- Mervyn LeRoy, who would later helm I am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang -- also promises something serious, and perhaps grim. Instead, however, what is delivered is entertaining for all the wrong reasons, as, when the script does not dwell on all the long-standing prison clichés, it fixes on some of the most absurd plotting ever seen in a prison movie.
The story features Conrad Nagel as a good-hearted ex-counterfeiter who takes a callow new inmate under his wing, and who, later, helps out the warden when a really nasty convict escapes by generating a prison riot. Nagel's performance is fine, but gets lost in the plot silliness, typified by a prison "honor system" where the warden shows a lack of concern about security that rivals Col. Klink. Other moments of plot outrageousness (mostly involving the lengths Conrad Nagel will go to sacrifice himself for the somewhat dimwitted juvenile hero) destroy any sort of believability, but add a sort of Ed Wood zaniness to the proceedings, particularly in the movie's final reel. LeRoy is a good enough director that the action in this film does not drag, so, if you like "so bad its good cinema", you will probably like this.
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