A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy. He begins to discover that the facts in the case aren't ... See full summary »
In 1912, the notorious and violent prisoner Robert Franklin Stroud is transferred to the Leavenworth Prison convicted for murdering a man. When a guard cancels the visit of his mother, Elizabeth Stroud, due to a violation of the internal rules, he stabs and kills the guard and goes to trial three times. He is sentenced to be executed by the gallows, but his mother appeals to President Woodrow Wilson who commutes his sentence to life imprisonment. However, the warden, Harvey Shoemaker, decides to keep Stroud in solitary for the rest of his life. One day, Stroud finds a sparrow that has fallen from the nest in the yard and he raises the bird until it is strong enough to fly. Stroud finds a motivation for his life raising and caring for birds and becomes an expert in birds. He marries Stella Johnson and together they run a business, providing medicine developed by Stroud. But a few years after, Stroud is transferred to Alcatraz and has to leave his birds behind. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Harvey is in Stroud's cell talking about the history book, it is with Harvey, but then is seen in Stroud's hands without him picking it up. See more »
...during which you will see all of the man-made and natural beauties, the most spectacular bay in the world. You'll pass beneath the famous Golden Gate Bridge, considered by most authorities to be one of the most striking structures ever erected by man. From the bay, you will thrill to the magnificent San Francisco skyline. Your cruise ship, the Harbor King, will circle Alcatraz, a maximum security prison containing the most dangerous criminals in America. It has been the home of ...
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Lancaster's Fine Performance Makes Up For The Weaknesses
Burt Lancaster's fine performance as "Birdman" Robert Stroud makes up for the movie's weaknesses elsewhere. Thanks to Lancaster, it is an interesting and at times very human story, with a number of memorable scenes. The story itself does has some slow spots, and it probably goes on a bit too long. More than that, while it takes some of its basic facts from reality, its portrayal of the lead character is idealized at best, and is probably quite distorted in his favor.
None of the flaws can be blamed on Lancaster, who successfully portrays all sides of his character. Sometimes brutal, sometimes sensitive; sometimes brilliant, sometimes foolish; he makes Stroud a three-dimensional and memorable character. Few of the other characters have much depth, but most of them are played well by the supporting cast.
For all that Lancaster's portrayal of Stroud is so believable in itself, the movie's depiction of the "Birdman" seems to be very much at odds with his real character. It's too bad that Hollywood film-makers are rarely satisfied to portray a complex historical character as he or she really was, without idealizing or demonizing someone to force a story into a simple mold. It's even more of a problem now than it was in the 1960s. If the actual facts don't make for a good movie, you can always use the basic idea to write a completely fictional story that is not passed off as factual.
Yet as a movie, this is still well worth seeing. If taken just as a story, it makes for interesting viewing, and it contains some worthwhile ideas. Some of the later scenes seem a bit anti-climactic, yet they do round out the story, and they also allow Lancaster the opportunity to develop his character even further.
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