Carl Monroe and 'Joker' Johnson share some things: They are both in jail and they both hate each other. After a fist fight the are going to be put into an other jailhouse by car. They come ... See full summary »
Father Rivard is a priest in a small, economically depressed coal mining town. Working on what he thinks is a "controversial" work, he lives with the brutal lives of his poor parishioners, ... See full summary »
Dick Van Dyke,
R.P.M. stands for (political) revolutions per minute. Anthony Quinn plays a liberal college professor at a west coast college during the hedy days of campus activism in the late 1960s. ... See full summary »
Joker Jackson and Noah Cullen are two convicts on a chain gang who hate each other. After a truck prison accident, they flee and are pursued by the police. While they're chained, the two are dependent on one another. When they eventually get rid of their chains, their hostility has been changed into fellowship and respect. Written by
Tony Kessen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There is this story going around that Robert Mitchum refused the part Tony Curtis eventually played because he did not want to work with a black man. The actual story is that Mitchum who did spend time on a southern chain gang said there was no way that back in the day a black and white man would have been chained together in the first place. In fact Stanley Kramer must have taken the critique in stride because sheriff Theodore Bikel has a line of explanation saying the warden had a sense of humor.
Though the film dates a bit, it's still quite dramatic even now. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier chained together have an unplanned jail break while being transported. Curtis has all the attitudes typical of his time and Poitier doesn't take nothing off anybody. Still joined at the hip as they are, they do need each other and find eventually there's more that unites than divides them.
Besides Theodore Bikel in a strange role for him as a laconic southern sheriff, look for good performances from Lon Chaney, Jr. who runs a turpentine work camp who saves Curtis and Poitier from a lynching and Cara Williams as a trampy white trash farm lady whose needs haven't been met for a while.
Tony Curtis in an incredible act of generosity insisted on equal billing for Sidney Poitier since due to the nature of the film, they are on screen together for most of it. That act of generosity may have cost him an Oscar for both he and Poitier were nominated for Best Actor, but lost to David Niven for Separate Tables. An act that rankles Tony Curtis to this day because at the drop of a hat he will insist Niven got 'his' Oscar.
Despite the sour grapes, The Defiant Ones though dated is still a good bit of cinema.
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