Fed up with the inhumane prison living conditions, a general prison riot breaks out, leading to hostage-taking, a stand-off with the guards and eventual negotiations with the prison administration officials.
The midnight murder of a rancher and his wife leaves circumstantial evidence pointing the finger of guilt toward a married couple, George Braden and his wife Ellen, who live and work on the ranch. George confesses to the killings in order to free his wife from hours of grilling by the police. Despite the best efforts of his defense attorney, Doug Madison , George gets the death penalty. Sunsequent events and his sympathy for Ellen convince Doug that George is innocent but he must find the real murderer to prove it. His man-hunt leads to a former hired hand, Max Verne. With the help of the latter's greedy girl friend, Gracie Sanger, Max is found and admits to the killings. But when a hearing is held, a psychiatrist pronounces him unsound of mind but harmless and the judge sets him free. After the governor rejects Doug's pleas for an appeal for George, the townspeople turn against him, and his fiancée, Paula Mitchener), misconstrues his association with Ellen and breaks their engagement... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Overcoming a Low-Budget with Don Siegel and John Alton
Director Don Siegel's Cynicism is on full Display in this Underseen Minor Work that fits in the Film-Noir Category quite Firmly. Siegel once Again Displays some of the Seedier aspects of the Human Condition. Quick on the Trigger Law Enforcement, an Attorney who has a Dual Nature willing to Help the Helpless but Not Adverse to Seducing an Unwilling and slightly Dim Female, and a Court System with some Serious Flaws.
Director of Photography John Alton Adds much Atmosphere to the limited Budget, and Jack Elam is a Standout mentally Disturbed Criminal. The much Hated Theremin inclusions are Misplaced but can be Ignored because of the better Touches used by Siegel, Alton, and a good Trio of Actors, MacDonald Carey, Theresa Wright, and Jack Elam. The other Actors Strain for Credibility.
Overall, a Minor Film-Noir but Worth a Watch for sure. It's Odd enough and Tense throughout thanks to the Creative Hands of Siegel and Alton.
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