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Buried Alive (1939)

 -  Drama  -  6 November 1939 (USA)
5.0
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 101 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

A prison trustee rescues a despondent executioner from a bar-room brawl, and is blamed for the fight by a tabloid reporter who actually started it, and loses parole, becomes embittered, and gets blamed for murder of guard.

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(story), (screenplay)
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Title: Buried Alive (1939)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joan Wright
Robert Wilcox ...
Johnny Martin
Paul McVey ...
Jim Henderson
Ted Osborne ...
Ira Hanes (as Ted Osborn)
George Pembroke ...
Ernie Matthews (as Geo. Pembroke)
Stephen Chase ...
Dr. Robert Lee (as Alden Chase)
George Lynn ...
Gus Barth (as Peter Lynn)
Wheeler Oakman ...
Manning
Norman Budd ...
The Kid
...
Riley
Boyd Irwin ...
Rutledge
Edward Earle ...
Charlie Blake
Dave O'Brien ...
Carson
Robert McKenzie ...
Al Garrity (as Bob McKenzie)
Don Rowan ...
Big Billy
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Storyline

Ernie Matthews, who operates the prison electric chair, is having a crisis of conscience about his role as state executioner. His unrequited love for Joan Wright, another prison employee, adds to his depression. She in turn loves Johnny Martin, the warden's chauffeur and a trustee eligible shortly for parole. When the despondent Matthews goes to a local road house after an execution to get drunk, he's taunted by a sadistic reporter, and a brawl results. Because Johnny came to Matthews' aid in the fight, the parole board, pressured by the press, turns down his expected release, and Johnny reacts bitterly, forcing the warden to rescind his privileges. When Johnny's mentally challenged cell mate Big Billy strangles a sadistic warder, it is only Johnny's intervention that keeps a second guard from being killed. Another vindictive convict, Gus Barth, the only living witness to Johnny's heroism, spitefully hides the truth, hoping that Johnny goes to the electric chair. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love finds its way... behind the gates of prison!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buried Alive  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Actor/stuntman Dave O'Brien plays the part of a reporter without his signature hairpiece, but he is wearing it when he doubles Robert Wilcox in the bar brawl scene. Even with his hairpiece on, it is obviously O'Brien. See more »

Quotes

Jim Henderson: I'm worried about Ernie.
Dr. Robert Lee: I wouldn't worry about it too much. He always puts on an act like that.
Jim Henderson: Somehow it doesn't seem like an act today. I hope nothing goes wrong.
Dr. Robert Lee: Don't you worry, warden. When the time comes, Ernie'll step right up there and throw that switch just like it's all in a day's work.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Man Who Came to Dinner (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Minor late-show material
3 December 2002 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

With its limited settings, slow pacing, and small cast, this "B" movie could almost be staged as a radio drama. It offers little in the way of suspense or romance and has no comic relief but there may be some academic interest in its Roosevelt-era attitudes toward prisons, capital punishment, and the power of the press.

Robert Wilcox, who always deserved better and who has one of the greatest heads of hair in the history of the movies, does what he can as the inmate who suffers a contrived and implausible string of bad luck. His best part came in the following year, however, when he played an inmate who endures a memorable flogging in "Island of Doomed Men."


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