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Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money ... 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 <email@example.com>
A previous commentator claimed that the doctor's breakfast was set down in his office, ignored in lieu of booze. In Calypso's rhyme he states that indeed that is the warden's breakfast, not the doctor's. See more »
During the fight in the guard tower between Munsey and Collins, guard Tom seems to have been killed, but the stunt actor Tom Steele who plays him is very clearly doubling Hume Cronyn. See more »
[Flashback scene: Tom Lister is in his prison cell, recalling how he had given his wife Cora an exquisite fur coat]
Tom... oh, Tom! It's the most beautiful thing in the whole world!
It belongs on you.
[Putting the coat on and admiring herself dreamily in the mirror]
It makes me feel so... I don't know... like I was "somebody." Oh, Tom...
[Suddenly coming to her senses]
Where'd you get it? Where'd the money come from? Where'd you get it!
Cora, I stole the money. I juggled the books and took three ...
[...] See more »
I've read recent reviews of this film that condemn it for being "outdated" or not "relevant". Um, hello? This movie is is fifty-seven years old! As such, we are treated to typical 1940s Hollywood stereotypes and acting methods, not to mention references to the recently completed war. Yet, even within the pitfalls of the studio system, this film shines as a great example of film noir.
Director Jules Dassin is brilliant with light, and sets the example for the French "new wave" of cinema. Lighting Burt Lancaster from the side, or from underneath, makes him and the other actors look almost surreal.
Most of the dialogue is "clipped" and preposterous, but films from this era often suffer from this same problem. Yet "Brute Force" retains its original power simply by virtue of the dynamite performances, the stirring score, and the gritty techniques of Dassin.
I had to smile during the scene where Hume Cronyn's character turns up the Wagner on his hi-fi so the guards outside his door won't hear the inmate he's about to beat scream. This was mimicked during David Lynch's ground-breaking TV series "Twin Peaks" when a character turned up his radio before he beat his wife. Of course beating people isn't funny, but seeing obvious references in cinema is always a kick.
I highly recommend "Brute Force" to anyone who appreciates the art of film, great directing, and fine performances.
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