When the nephew and his friend of Phyllis Carter are killed in an automobile crash while under the influence of narcotics, she persuades Police Lieutenant Jim Hahan to use her as an ... See full summary »
Another in a unrelated series of Warner's penitentiary tours in three different decades. This one is California's notorious Folsom Prison prior to its 1944 reformation make-over. Ben Rickey... See full summary »
As a train speeds through the Arizona night, a man posing as a physician holds up the baggage-car crew and escapes with a $500,000 payroll. The fake doctor, Paul Bruckner, leaves the train ... See full summary »
Outlaw Clint Hollister escapes from jail with the help of Marshal Jake Wade, because once Clint did the same for him. Jake left Clint just after, but Clint finds him back and forces Jake to... See full summary »
Immediately after the prison break, there's a shot of a crowd of people leaving a movie theatre, with Abbott & Costello in The Noose Hangs High (another Eagle-Lion release) prominently displayed on the readerboard. Only problem is, the break took place 30 December 1947, and The Noose Hangs High wasn't released until the end of the following April. See more »
Realistic Prison Drama Narrowly Misses Its Potential
This movie proudly bears the label of a semi-documentary and comes complete with the usual Foreword about all the incidents being portrayed exactly as they happened, and all photographed on their actual locations, using real warders, guards and convicts, etc.
Personally, I doubt that the movie was shot in its entirety inside the actual prison there's even a credit for 2nd unit direction and photography. But be this as it may, the studio material is certainly extremely well integrated with the location footage. Credit for this achievement is mostly due to John Alton, whose masterful photography makes Canon City must watching for connoisseurs. True, Alton's work here is less tantalizing than usual as he was required to match up his shots with Strenge's rather dull location work. Nonetheless, there are still more than a few indications (the profile silhouette on Brady's face) of genius behind the camera.
Crane Wilbur's screenplay is less praiseworthy, but typical of that writer's detached, tabloid newspaper-style approach. He loves the sort of narrated rhetoric employed by contemporary newsreel commentators (Reed Hadley does a good job here with the actual narration), but fortunately his dialogue is less flowery and more realistic.
Generally Wilbur's direction rates as rather dull, but here his handling is even occasionally inventive, although his experiments are not always successful (as for example in the oddly oblique use of the first-person camera right at the beginning, with the on-screen characters swapping words with the disembodied narrator).
In all, however, the film emerges as a reasonably engrossing prison melodrama, convincingly acted (except oddly by the non-professionals), compellingly photographed, and tautly written. Despite its foregone conclusion, the storyline does build up a moderate amount of excitement and tension.
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