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San Quentin (1937)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 7 August 1937 (USA)
An army trainer becomes captain of the prison yard and in time, falls for the sister of a hardened inmate.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Joe 'Red' Kennedy
...
May
...
Lt. Druggin
...
'Sailor Boy' Hansen (as Joseph Sawyer)
...
Helen
Archie Robbins ...
Mickey Callahan (as James Robbins)
Joe King ...
Warden Taylor (as Joseph King)
...
Captain
Garry Owen ...
Dopey
...
Venetti
Emmett Vogan ...
Lieutenant
William Pawley ...
Convict
...
Convict
...
Prison Runner
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Storyline

Ex-Army officer Jameson takes a job a prison guard at San Quentin. Joe, the brother of his new girlfriend May, is sentenced to the prison for robbery. When Jameson tries to separate lawbreakers from hardened criminals, badguy Hansen tries to stir up trouble by telling Joe about Jameson's interest in his sister. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Out Of The "Pen" . . . Into The Jaws Of Death ! . . . See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La révolte  »

Box Office

Budget:

$365,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Humphrey Bogart plays Ann Sheridan's kid brother in this film, even though in real life he was actually older than her by 15 years. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of the boom microphone can be seen moving up the row of men to the left during their lineup at the beginning of the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

How Could You?
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Ann Sheridan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
San Quentin, you've been living hell to me
26 July 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

"San Quentin" presents a good view of what goes on behind the walls of state prisons, not so different from today, except for high tech gadgets that make escape more difficult.

Lieutenant Druggin (Barton MacLane) is relieved of his temporary position as yard captain, much to his dislike. When an army officer, Captain Steve Jameson (Pat O'Brien), accepts a two-year assignment to be his replacement, Druggin sets about to thwart Steve's changes, believing them to be too liberal.

Before arriving at his assignment, Steve spends a night in a club with his army buddies where he meets and falls in love with the singer, May Kennedy (Ann Sheridan), unaware that she has a criminal brother, Red Kennedy (Humphrey Bogart), bound for San Quentin following his capture at the club the same evening.

After meeting May's brother at San Quentin, Steve is determined to reform the young man without informing him that he knows and loves his sister. Red figures in on part of Steve's reform program, selecting those most likely to be rehabilitated for the fresh air road jobs, before based on seniority and good behavior alone. Steve convinces the prison board by explaining how many of the seasoned criminals take advantage of the old system to use the jobs outside the walls as means of escape. All goes awry when 'Sailor Boy' Hanson (Joe Sawyer) pulls strings with Druggin to get assigned with Red on the same work detail. Hanson needles Red about his sister being exploited by Steve by using her brother as a weapon. Hearing about Steve and May's relationship for the first time so angers Red that he throws in with Hanson and they make their getaway. It is now up to Steve to catch Red before he is totally lost to crime.

"San Quentin" has a stellar cast that raises this somewhat routine prison drama to higher ground. Humphrey Bogart's character runs the gamut of emotions but remains true to form as a wannabe tough guy with a chip on his shoulder. The gifted actress Ann Sheridan was seldom given an opportunity by the studio to strut her stuff, but she could make even the most thankless role shine. This time she is given an opportunity to show off her singing talent. Pat O'Brien, while not a versatile actor, could be counted on to give a good performance. The supporting cast of character actors makes every aspect of this tough prison drama believable.

Veteran director Lloyd Bacon delivers the goods in creating a fast paced film with an exciting chase scene near the end, filled with some daring stunt work, especially the motorcycle jump. There is exceptional camera work by Sidney Hickox of the environs of San Quentin, in particular the shots of the yard with the prisoners at times appearing almost surrealistic.


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