Television viewer seeing this for the first time: Gee whiz, it's in black-and-white and was made in the 40's and is about crime and...Eureka!...another "noir" film is discovered. How about ... See full summary »
Small time con artist Lefty Merrill has co-organized a crooked dance marathon and set-up his girlfriend to win the prize money. When his partner disappears with money before the contest is ... See full summary »
Vincent Van Der Lyn, a Dutch freedom fighter in WWII, is forced to neutral Lisbon to escape the Nazis. There he meets a small band of underground conspirators. The group's leader, Ricardo ... See full summary »
Jack Early is a go getting photographer who is determined to make a name for himself. He manages to be hired by a major San Francisco newspaper and from then on he is prepared to do ... See full summary »
William Powell plays William Foster, a slick attorney who stays within the law, but specializes in representing crooks and shady characters. He's adept at keeping them out of jail, winning ... See full summary »
Television viewer seeing this for the first time: Gee whiz, it's in black-and-white and was made in the 40's and is about crime and...Eureka!...another "noir" film is discovered. How about just another typical Martin Mooney film that starts out as pretending to be something socially significant---call Prison Warden Lewis E. Lawes to do another prologue speech---and then quickly gets into just another cops-vs-robbers (or good crooks vs. bad crooks)B-feature action-thriller that will open in every 2nd-tier theatre in the country on Sunday, close on Wednesday... and be the bottom-half of a grind-house twin-bill two weeks later. "San Quentin" ably fills that description. Ex-con Jim Rowland (Lawrence Tierney), gone straight and returning from WWII as a hero, is more than a bit irked, as one of the founders of the Prison Welfare League (cons rehabilitating cons inside and outside the walls), when he learns that bank robber Nick Taylor (Barton MacLane) has used the good name of the PWL to ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
The story of this photoplay is told against the pictorial background of San Quentin prison, and the factual background of our penal institutions generally, but in its presentation of persons and specific institutions it is fictional. The characters are not intended to represent actual persons, living or dead. See more »
Thoroughly routine cops and robbers, whose only distinction may be Raymond Burr's first screen appearance. The first part is a not very convincing look at reformed convicts who passed through the prison's controversial reform program. It's a worthy topic, but spread on pretty thick. The movie's main part is straight cops and robbers, with reformed convict Tierney trying to nab ruthless MacLane who's abused the program and given it a bad name.
Tierney was always more of a presence than an actor. Here his role tends to fade him into the background, overshadowed by the always energized MacLane who ends up stealing the show. Surprisingly, the staging is not noir though the film comes from noir's Mecca, RKO. Instead, prolific director Douglas films in pretty straightforward style, doing little to heighten either suspense or atmosphere. Unfortunately, the result looks like just another studio assignment for him. Fortunately, the movie has two real feminine eye-catchers, the blonde Carr and the brunette Forman. Both are real additions to the rather lackluster visuals.
All in all, the movie's not a good vehicle for Tierney's odd appeal. Nor is it compelling cops and robbers. While Burr is more the fall guy than the menacing heavy he could be.
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