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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>
The second of three films that Burt Lancaster made for Mark Hellinger, the writer-producer who discovered the former acrobat and turned him into a movie star. The first of these was The Killers (1946) and the three-picture contract was completed with Criss Cross (1949), a film Hellinger never lived to see, as he died before production began. His widow insisted that Lancaster honor the contract he had with her husband. 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 »
[Guards are taking roll call at the prison cells, calling each inmate's name. When he's called, Calypso, instead of a simple "here," answers with a musical verse, sung Calypso-style]
"I'm here Mr. Man, I can't tell no lie. And I'll be right here till the day I die."
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In the Westgate Penitentiary, the Warden A. J. Barden (Roman Bohnen) is a weak man, and the institution is actually ruled by the ambitious and sadistic Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyon), who uses violence, fear and treachery to control the prisoners. After the suicide of Tom Lister (Whit Bissell), one of the inmates of cell R17, provoked by Captain Munsey, the prisoners loses their privileges and rest of the group of cell R-17 leaded by Joe Collins (Burt Lancaster) is sent to hard and insalubrious work in the drain pipe. Joe uses a successful strategy of war trying to escape, attacking the tower of the penitentiary from the outside with his men, and from inside with the team leaded by the leader Gallagher (Charles Bickford). However, the plan fails, ending in a bloodshed.
Sixty years after the original release date, "Brute Force" is still a great movie of prison. The story is very well constructed, with flashbacks showing the connection of three inmates with his women. The violence is not explicitly disclosed like in the present days, but the cruelty of Captain Munsey can be understood even by the most naive viewer. The direction of Jules Dassin is outstanding with many memorable scenes. Yvonne De Carlo has a minor participation, but a strong role. The moralist message in the end, when Dr. Walters (Alt Smith) tells that nobody can escape from penitentiaries, does not spoil this great movie. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Brutalidade" ("Brutality")
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