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Brute Force (1947)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  30 June 1947 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,927 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 46 critic

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Capt. Munsey
...
Gallagher
...
Gina Ferrara
...
Ruth
...
Cora Lister
Anita Colby ...
Flossie
Sam Levene ...
Louie Miller #7033
...
'Freshman' Stack
...
Spencer
Jack Overman ...
Kid Coy
Roman Bohnen ...
Warden A.J. Barnes
Sir Lancelot ...
Calypso
Vince Barnett ...
Muggsy
...
Hodges
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Man hate! Woman love! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 June 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brutalidade  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Munsey is beating the reporter for information on the escape, he plays the overture to Richard Wagner's "Tannheuser"--perhaps a reference to Adolf Hitler's love of Wagner's music. See more »

Goofs

When Munsey talks to Gallagher in the dining hall, the position of the hands of Jackson (the guard standing behind) change between shots. In the longer shot he is holding the baton with his hands on top of the baton; in the closer shot, his right hand is still on top and his left hand holds the baton from underneath. See more »

Quotes

Warden A.J. Barnes: [In the Warden's office: things at the prison have gotten progressively worse] What's the answer to it? Are we going to have to keep every prisoner in ritual solitary? Other prisons must have the same problems, but they clear them up, keep things running smoothly.
Captain Munsey: We've been through difficult times before, Warden.
Warden A.J. Barnes: Oh, never like this. And McCollum is coming tomorrow. Why? Why can't he let me alone? Everything's gone wrong. I don't know who's to blame, but... I do know that every prisoner hates ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Uncomfortable Man (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Tannhäuser Overture
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
Heard when Munsey is interrogating the convict
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful, dark drama. Great performance by Cronyn.
26 February 1999 | by (Maryland) – See all my reviews

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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