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Yvonne De Carlo,
Zsa Zsa Gabor
When Dr. Williams takes the cab to the Ace High Club in Tahoe, and is being followed by another car, they both depart a highway turn-off going in one direction. In the very next shot, without the camera position being moved at all, the two cars are shown going in the opposite direction past the very same location as the previous shot. See more »
A real head-scratcher from one of the true Kings of the Bs!!
EXPERIMENT ALCATRAZ (1950) is another in a very long line of ultra-cheap curios from the prodigiously prolific Edward L. Cahn, one of the undisputed "Kings of the Bs." Produced independently and picked up for theatrical distribution by RKO before eventually evaporating into the ethers of obscurity, this murky little gem ranks as one of Cahn's more interesting films.
Dr. Ross Williams (John Howard) and his crack team of army physicians are certain that by blasting "radioactive isotopes" into human guinea pigs, medical science will find a cure for a rare blood disease. A group of five Alcatraz lifers are given the opportunity to gain their freedom if they're willing to subject themselves to this hazardous and radical medical experiment. The hardened cons, led by the grizzled Barry Morgan (Robert Shayne, perennial good guy Inspector Henderson on TV's Superman) are quick to play ball without any illusions of altruism; their only interest is getting out of the can and this is clearly the only shot they're ever likely to get. But something goes horribly, weirdly wrong and Morgan winds up murdering one of the other cons in the aftermath of the experiment, throwing Dr. Williams' theory and, for that matter, entire medical career into jeopardy. The resulting mystery surrounding the peculiar events taking place at Alcatraz forms the basis for the remainder of this quirky drama.
While perhaps not as sharply drawn as other notable low budget noirs from the late 40s and early 50s, EXPERIMENT ALCATRAZ nevertheless earns its stripes through the sheer weirdness of its far-fetched story and the unexpected detours it takes along the way. At fifty-seven minutes, it can hardly be faulted for overstaying its welcome.
Edward L. Cahn had an incredible career in Hollywood, directing countless low budget features over a thirty-year period, including such classics as MAIN STREET AFTER DARK (1945), THE GAS HOUSE KIDS IN Hollywood (1947), DESTINATION MURDER (1950), CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955), GIRLS IN PRISON (1956), SHAKE RATTLE & ROCK (1956), VOODOO WOMAN (1957), MOTORCYCLE GANG (1957), INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN (1957), IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958), RIOT IN JUVENILE PRISON (1959), GUNS, GIRLS & GANGSTERS (1959) and CAGE OF EVIL (1960).
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