Mutiny in the Big House (1939)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  25 October 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 35 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

A young man forges a check in order to help his mother, but is caught and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The prison chaplain, seeing that the new arrival is a good man who's had some bad ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews) , (original story)
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Title: Mutiny in the Big House (1939)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Red Manson
Pat Moriarity ...
Prison Warden
Johnny Davis
William Royle ...
Captain of Guards Ed Samson
George Cleveland ...
Convict 'Dad' Schultz
Charley Foy ...
Convict Bitsy
Russell Hopton ...
Convict Frankie
Jeffrey Sayre ...
Eddie Foster ...
Convict Del (as Edward Foster)
Jack Daley ...
Evans - Cell Block Guard
Wheeler Oakman ...
Charles King ...
Nigel De Brulier ...
Convict Mike Faleri


A young man forges a check in order to help his mother, but is caught and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The prison chaplain, seeing that the new arrival is a good man who's had some bad luck, sets out to help keep him out of trouble so he can serve his sentence and get out. However, his cellmate, a hardened con, sees the chaplain's interest in the young convict as something he can use in his planned jailbreak. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

chaplain | prison | convict | check | wound | See All (50) »


A HALF-HUMAN KILLER WITH A GUN...AND A HERO WITH A PRAYER! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aufstand im Zuchthaus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story, by Martin Mooney, was based on the famous Colorado State Penitentiary (Canon City) riot in 1929 in which 12 were killed and 11 injured in an attempted breakout. Father Patrick O'Neil, the prison chaplain, who was instrumental in quelling the outburst, was awarded the Carnegie Medal for extraordinary heroism. See more »

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User Reviews

Kind of sappy....
23 July 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Although Martin Mooney based this story on real events and a real priest who worked in the prison system, I couldn't help but think that this film seemed a bit too sappy and hard to believe. Maybe you'll like it more than I did--I just see it as a heavy-handed time-passer.

Dennis Moore plays a convict who was given an unusually harsh sentence for his first offense. For writing a bad check for $10, he was given 1-14 years in the penitentiary--and the priest in the institution (Charles Bickford) feels sorry for him and wants to keep this nice guy from becoming a career criminal. However, the guy is assigned to bunk with a real hard-core jerk (Baron MacLane--who made a career out of playing such roles). Can the good priest keep Moore's character on the straight and narrow or will he be manipulated by his bunkie and live a life of crime? Overall, it's not a terrible film despite its low budget. But it also is handled poorly--coming off as too saccharine to be taken very seriously.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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