When young Danny Lambert runs away from camp in south-central Colorado, he becomes the object of a park-wide-search by his wealthy father Robertson Lambert. He is found by Jerry Barker and ... See full summary »
When young Danny Lambert runs away from camp in south-central Colorado, he becomes the object of a park-wide-search by his wealthy father Robertson Lambert. He is found by Jerry Barker and told to wait at an abandoned look-out tower while he goes for help. Instead, Barker calls the father and demands $200,000 ransom. The money is delivered and Barker buries most of it. Meanwhile, the panicky boy has fallen from the tower to his death, and Barker drops the body off a cliff. The FBI, led by James Madden, capture Barker but can't convict him of kidnapping and he is given only five years for extortion and sent to Casabel Island Prison. There he is assigned a cell with Rollo Lambar, Alamo Smith, Benny Kelly and Machine Gun Mason. The FBI have now traced an affiliation between Barker and Emily Evans, a nurse at Danny's camp. The five cell-mates, led by Rollo, who plans to kill Benny and dress him in Barker's clothes to throw off the police, execute an underwater prison escape, and head ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Grim documentary style prison drama is gritty and realistic...
The story begins with a lost boy, a kidnapping, a ransom as extortionist RALPH MEEKER takes advantage of a situation which led to the death of the boy. The F.B.I. is soon on the case when the boy's father reports his disappearance. Meeker is sent to an island prison to serve a sentence as an extortionist who has $200,000 hidden somewhere.
He's thrown in with some hardened criminal types--CHARLES BRONSON, BRODERICK CRAWFORD, LON CHANEY, JR.--labeled "the Iceman" because of his cool demeanor and icy gaze. Crawford has one of the film's best lines: "Well, the iceman cometh." Since no prison drama would be complete without an escape plan being hatched, BIG HOUSE U.S.A. is no exception. The suspense lies mainly in the survival of Meeker who is known as the most hated man in prison because he harmed a boy. Crawford devises an escape plan that includes Meeker, "the goose that laid the golden egg", so he can share the hidden loot with them. Of course, it's a crime doesn't pay melodrama, so in the end all their best laid plans go awry.
Nice outdoor photography in Royal Gorge Park, Colorado, for the rugged scenes in the finale.
Summing up: Well worth your time--interesting and gritty.
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