A Rebel vet, O'Meara has refused to surrender when Lee does at Appomatox. O'Meara travels west and after escaping from, he joins the Sioux and takes a wife. After denouncing himself as an ... See full summary »
Police detective Damico, outwitted by mob killer Blackie Clay, is nominally suspended; actually he goes undercover (as Tim Flynn, ex-con longshoreman) to find Clay and expose the waterfront... See full summary »
Near the end of the war in Germany, GI Steve Boland, a self-described "sharp-operator", meets a German girl, Ilsa, and they fall in love. Ilsa's brother Karl, whom she has not seen in three... See full summary »
Kenneth G. Crane
Life on a British bomber base, and the surrounding towns, from the opening days of the Battle of Britain, to the arrival of the Americans, who join in the bomber offensive. The film centres... See full summary »
Bank robber Cornel Wilde, after being wounded by a bullet, seeks shelter with his gang at his brother's mountain retreat. There he rekindles his romance with his brother's wife, and reconnects with the boy he believes is his son.
During the early days of the Korean War, U.S. Army colonel Steve Janowski is one of the military advisers training the South Korean army and he's tasked with evacuating American civilians from the war zone.
A Los Angeles high-school teacher's problems begin when he happens to witness a gangland killing and agrees to identify the murderers. Not realizing this will cause the underworld to retaliate "big time".
Gene Fowler Jr.
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 <email@example.com>
I'm gonna kidnap a kidnapper for the money he kidnapped for.
Big House, U.S.A. is directed by Howard W. Koch and written by John C. Higgins, George George and George Slavin. It stars Broderick Crawford, Ralph Meeker, Reed Hadley, William Talman, Lon Chaney Jr., Charles Bronson and Felicia Farr. Music is by Paul Dunlap and cinematography by Gordon Avil.
A Kidnap, A Ransom and A Prison Break = Powder Keg.
Out of Bel-Air Productions, Big House, U.S.A. is a relentlessly tough and gritty picture. Beginning with the kidnapping of a young boy from a country camp, Howard Koch's film has no intentions of making you feel good about things. Deaths do occur and we feel the impact wholesale, tactics and actions perpetrated by the bad guys in the play punch the gut, while the finale, if somewhat expected in the scheme of good versus bad classic movies, still leaves a chill that is hard to shake off.
Split into two halves, we first observe the kidnap and ransom part of the story, then for the second part we enter prison where we become cell mates with five tough muthas. Crawford, Chaney, Meeker, Bronson and Talman, it's a roll call of macho nastiness unfurled by character actors worthy of the Big House surroundings. The locations play a big part in the pervading sense of doom that hangs over proceedings, Cascabel Island Prison (really McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary) is every bit as grim as you would expect it to be, and the stunning vistas of Royal Gorge in Colorado proves to be a foreboding backdrop for much of the picture.
Although it sadly lacks chiaroscuro photography, something which would have been perfect for this movie and elevated it to the standard of Brute Force and Riot in Cell Block 11, Avil's photography still has the requisite starkness about it. While Dunlap scores it with escalating menace. Not all the performances are top draw, more so on the good guy side of the fence, and some characters such as Chaney's Alamo Smith don't get nearly enough lines to spit, but this is still one bad boy of an experience and recommended to fans of old black and white crims and coppers movies. 8/10
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