Chuck, a reporter for The Blade newspaper, gets beaten up while trying to get a story on prison corruption, and the rest of the Bowery Boys, Slip, Sach, and Butch, get themselves arrested ... See full summary »
Chuck, a reporter for The Blade newspaper, gets beaten up while trying to get a story on prison corruption, and the rest of the Bowery Boys, Slip, Sach, and Butch, get themselves arrested so that they can complete the expose from inside the prison, while serving a short---they think---six month sentence. Inside the Big House, they learn that ex-gangsters Ed Lannigan, Tom Tomcyk, and "Big Greenie", are living in the lap of luxury within the prison, by paying off Jenkins, the corrupt Captain of the Guards. And, on the side, the Boys, Sach in particular, slowly send Dr. Fordyce, the prison psychiatrist, off the deep end as they clumsily go about their investigation. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Number thirty-nine is yet another weak one. This time out Chuck is an undercover reporter who enters prison for an assignment but he's nearly beaten to death when he finds too much out. Slip, Sach and Butch agree to go undercover as well but they end up getting taken advantage of by a reporter (Lyle Talbot) who has a gambling debt. JAIL BUSTERS isn't the worst film in the Bowery Boys series but it's certainly no where near the top either. At 61-minutes there's very little in terms of story but I guess that's to be expected as the series was clearly running on more fumes than anything else. There's not really any type of story here because the only crooked thing being done inside the prison is that certain members get to take hot baths and enjoy good food. That's certainly far from ground breaking material and that's one reason why nothing here is too interesting. Another problem is that the screenplay doesn't offer many laughs, which is the main reason this thing stalls out. I'm really not sure why more wasn't tried but perhaps director Beaudine simply didn't get any laughs on his first take and decided to leave things as is. It's not like we're treated to several comic bits that don't work because the fact is that very few attempts at humor are even made. When they are they really don't work either and especially several sequences where a doctor tries to figure out why the boys are so stupid. Both Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall seem bored with the project as neither of them seem too interested in anything going on. It seems like both are pretty bored with the material as their performances lack any energy. Bernard Gorcey doesn't have much to do and the rest of the cast are wasted as well. Even Talbot doesn't get to do much. Percy Helton gets a few good moments as the Warden but it's not enough to save the film.
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