A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
Pinkie Brown is a small-town hoodlum whose gang runs a protection racket based at Brighton race course. When Pinkie orders the murder of a rival, Fred, the police believe it to be suicide. ... See full summary »
At overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where violence and fear are the norm and the warden has less power than guards and leading prisoners, the least contented prisoner is tough, single-minded Joe Collins. Most of all, Joe hates chief guard Captain Munsey, a petty dictator who glories in absolute power. After one infraction too many, Joe and his cell-mates are put on the dreaded drain pipe detail; prompting an escape scheme that has every chance of turning into a bloodbath. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the Group Theater (1931-1940), the first American acting company to attempt to put the Russian Stanislavski's principles into action, disbanded many of the actors who had participated in its revolutionary realistic productions on Broadway ("Awake and Sing" "Waiting for Lefty") made their way to Hollywood in search of work;, Roman Bohnen ("Warden"), and Art Smith ("Dr. Walters") - all of whom can be seen in this film. As many of the actors in The Group were members of the Communist Party or leftist organizations, they would soon be blacklisted during the HUAC period along with the director of this film, Jules Dassin. In 1946, a year before the release of this film, Elia Kazan, one of the members of The Group Theater who named names, happened to be in Hollywood and saw a production of one of Tennessee Williams's early plays "Portrait of a Madonna" directed by Hume Cronyn - who plays the sadistic Capt. Munsey in this film. Kazan was so impressed by the work of Cronyn's wife, Jessica Tandy, that he offered her the role of Blanche Dubois in his Broadway production of "Streetcar Named Desire." See more »
When discussing the hill attack during the war, the positions of the convicts change between the shots from outside the cell to the ones inside. See more »
[Spencer is wavering about whether to join in with Joe's escape plan]
Spencer. In or out? No guarantees go with this break. It's all or nothing. But you've gotta' make up your mind now. Now! Either way, no hard feelings.
[after long, thoughtful pause]
With you, Joe. I'll play along.
Robert 'Soldier' Becker:
I never thought different.
Neither did I.
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Powerful, dark drama. Great performance by Cronyn.
BRUTE FORCE This intense, powerful drama stars Burt Lancaster as Collins, a prisoner who's got to find a way out, and Hume Cronyn as the sadistic Captain Munsey, who delights in torturing the inmates. Cronyn is masterful -- cast wonderfully out of character, his slick, soft delivery takes on a skin-crawling menace. Lancaster is appropriately hard and driven, but the fact that he's breaking out to be by his dying girlfriend's side seems facile. The weakest elements of this film are the flashbacks to how his cellmates got locked up. (It seems obvious these scenes are contrived to introduce women into an otherwise all-male cast.) It turns out none of them are really bad guys except Lancaster, who appears to be some kind of gangster. We aren't given much insight into his character; we know he's smart and a leader, but he's clearly got a tendency toward violence. Ultimately, however, it's not about how they got there, but who they are when they get there. It's about what pushes a man past his breaking point and what happens after that. Weaknesses aside, this is a worthwhile, thought-provoking film with excellent performances all around.
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