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Chain Gang (1950)

 -  Crime | Action | Drama  -  1 November 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 79 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Crusading newspaperman Cliff Roberts (Douglas Kennedy), masquerades as a prison guard and gets a job attached to the chain gang. Using a tiny camera in the shape of a cigarette lighter, he ... See full summary »



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Title: Chain Gang (1950)

Chain Gang (1950) on IMDb 5.2/10

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Complete credited cast:
Douglas Kennedy ...
Cliff Roberts
Rita McKelvey
Emory Parnell ...
Capt. Duncan
William 'Bill' Phillips ...
Roy Snead
Thurston Hall ...
John McKelvey
Harry Cheshire ...
Henry 'Pop' O'Donnell


Crusading newspaperman Cliff Roberts (Douglas Kennedy), masquerades as a prison guard and gets a job attached to the chain gang. Using a tiny camera in the shape of a cigarette lighter, he takes pictures of and documents the miserable conditions. The sadist guard captain, Captain Duncan (Emory Parnell), learns about Cliff's activities and has him beaten by the other guards. Roberts escapes to write his expose that brings about some prison reforms. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It was legal murder until a reporter and his girl dared to get the inside story!


Crime | Action | Drama






Release Date:

1 November 1950 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Don C. Harvey plays one of the callous guards who watches while a stripped-to-the-waist prisoner, tied to a post, is whipped across his bare back. Three years later, in "Prince of Pirates," Harvey plays a stripped-to-the-waist prisoner who's whipped across his bare back. See more »


Guard Adams: Better check to see if you've got everything that's coming to you. Should be a couple of uniforms, a rifle, billy-club, and Black Annie.
Cliff Roberts: What's Black Annie?
Guard Adams: Black Annie's a whip.
Cliff Roberts: Guess I'm all fixed then.
Guard Adams: [nodding toward whip] You'll find that your best friend, Granger. These cons are pretty thick but Black Annie's one language they all understand.
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User Reviews

Solid little "B"
6 March 2011 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Director Lew Landers churned out quickie programmers like sausages, many of them almost instantly forgettable, but this isn't one of them. It's a solid little epic about a reporter going undercover as a guard to expose the brutality and corruption of the chain-gang system. Stalwart Douglas Kennedy--usually a stolid second-lead or heavy--does a good job as the reporter, veteran character actor Emory Parnell as the corrupt head guard has a bigger part then he usually does and makes the most of it and little-known character actor William Phillips does a very good turn as hardened chain-gang convict Snead. This picture has a bit more bite to it than the usual Landers epic, it's tighter (somewhat reminiscent of Phil Karlson's work, but just somewhat) and faster-paced than connoisseurs of Landers' work are used to. Thurston Hall as the main heavy and William Tannen as his front man are also quite good, although Marjorie Lord drags things down a bit as Kennedy's girlfriend. Altogether, though, it's actually a pretty good little picture, and definitely one of Landers' better efforts.

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