Producer Walter Wanger, who had just been released from a prison term after shooting a man he believed was having an affair with his wife, wanted to make a film about the appalling ...
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On a dark night of pelting rain, five men stage a well-planned train robbery and get away with a $10 millionr, nine-ton gold shipment. Dividing the massive haul into three concealed truck ... See full summary »
Producer Walter Wanger, who had just been released from a prison term after shooting a man he believed was having an affair with his wife, wanted to make a film about the appalling conditions he saw while he was incarcerated. He got together with director Don Siegel and they came up with this film, in which several prison inmates, to protest brutal guards, substandard food, overcrowding and barely livable conditions, stage an uprising, in which most of the inmates join, and take several guards hostage. Negotiations between the inmates and prison officials are stymied, however, by politicians interfering with the prison administration, and by dissension and infighting in the inmates' own ranks. Written by
YOU ARE CAUGHT IN THE SCORCHING CENTER OF A PRISON RIOT! YOU feel the savage frenzy of 4000 caged humans! YOU see the horror of the wolf pack on a vengeance kick! YOU sweat out every second with tortured hostages! YOU rock with the impact of brute force against bullets! See more »
"Riot in Cell Block 11" is a very good, very tough prison movie. However, I should also warn you that it's also got a very strong and not especially subtle message...and could have been handled a bit less obviously. The producer had an axe to grind...and it's too obvious. On the other hand, it is a nice contrast to the usual evil jerks in prison film.
When the film begins, there is a preachy prologue about prison riots and how they are the fault of the politicians and the people for allowing prisons to become that rotten. While to some extent this is true, the message come on about as subtly at a baseball bat against your skull. Then the film begins, a fictionalized account of prisoners rioting at a prison and the ineffectiveness and duplicitous nature of public officials in dealing with it. Again and again, the Warden advises for restraint and seems very much in agreement with most of the prisoners' demands...and time and again, the powers that be think the best way to handle the prisoners is to bluster and lie.
So if the film comes off as a bit preachy, why do I still give it a 7 (and I was tempted to give it an 8)? Well, the acting is really terrific. Neville Brand is great as the prisoner in charge of the rioters and the rest of the actors did a really nice job. Had the message been toned down a tad, the film might have earned a 9.
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