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Convicts 4 (1962)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 7 February 1963 (Mexico)
A semi-fictionalized version of John Resko's incarceration is presented. John is on death row at Sing Sing for murder. In December 1930, he killed a toy store shopkeeper over a teddy bear ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(screenplay), (autobiography "Reprieve")
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Resko
...
Principal Keeper
...
Iggy
...
Carl Carmer
...
Tiptoes
...
Warden
Dodie Stevens ...
Resko's Sister
...
Resko's Father
...
Wino
...
Resko's Mother
...
Guard
...
Teach
John Kellogg ...
Guard
Robert H. Harris ...
Commissioner
...
Connie Resko
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Storyline

A semi-fictionalized version of John Resko's incarceration is presented. John is on death row at Sing Sing for murder. In December 1930, he killed a toy store shopkeeper over a teddy bear he wanted to get as a Christmas present for his two year old daughter, Cathy, but for which he could not pay. Twenty minutes before John's scheduled execution, he is given a reprieve, his sentence commuted to life, and he transferred to Dannemora. He initially has a difficult time adjusting to life at Dannemora, from the uncaring direction of the prison administration including they not dealing with the issue of bed bugs, to altercations with fellow prisoners who seem to want their two pounds of literal and figurative flesh from John, to news that he receives from the outside about goings-on within his family. However, he does eventually befriend many of his fellow prisoners, especially Nick, Iggy and Wino. John dreams of escaping from Dannemora, so that he can be at least an economically generating ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They Blow the Big House Apart!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 February 1963 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Convicts Four  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After filming was completed, Sammy Davis Jr. asked for and received permission to put on a show for the inmates. The warden set two conditions: no racial jokes (which could start a riot) and no sex jokes (for obvious reasons). Four thousand inmates attended the show, Davis told no racial or sex jokes, and the show went off with no trouble. See more »

Goofs

When Iggy (Ray Walston) comes up into John Resko's cell after digging in their tunnel he refers to Resko as Ben. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exceptional.
8 September 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I've seen quite a few prison movies and this one is a bit different. First off, it's based on a real person. Second, because it's real, it lacks the glamor or sadism of prison films like "Brute Force" or "The Shawshank Redemption". And, unlike the awful "Birdman of Alcatraz" (which completely sanitized a truly evil man), this one sticks pretty close to the facts.

The film begins with John Resko (Ben Gazzara) on death row and in a flashback scene, you learn how he got there. However, shortly before his execution, his sentence is commuted to life in prison and the rest of the film concerns his attempt to cope with prison life. However, unlike the expected outcome (being taken out in a pine box), Resko, with the help of a caring prison guard, finds a means of escape--but not at all the one he expected.

There's a lot more to the film than my brief description. However, it is NOT an action-packed film or one that shows prison being hellish--just boring and a waste of life. It does a good job of this. But what's really neat are the performances. Gazzara was a heck of a good actor and you wonder if he would have been a big star had he possessed Hollywood good looks. But it's not just him--the rest of the cast is quite good. A particular standout is Sammy Davis, but Ray Walston (in a wacky role) and Stuart Whitman are also quite good. Realistic and fascinating...and a bit slow. But this slowness I really appreciated, as the film didn't change facts to make for a non-stop action or suspenseful film--just reality.


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