Adapted from a story by Truman Capote ("In Cold Blood"), the world of the prison convict is open to the viewer. As the story develops, one thing becomes clear. As in the outside world, there is a "system"; and just as on the outside, there is accommodation, honesty, cynicism, violence and all the other factors that make up our society. Three new convicts act as the catalyst for the events that follow; a college teacher, convicted of accidental manslaughter; a young man, sentenced for possession of marijuana; a new guard, interested in changing the system. Inside prison, the 'establlishment' presents itself. The warden doesn't want to rock the boat of the small society within prison walls. A convict dictator controls activities among the inmates thanks to a control of the narcotics traffic. A leader of the black convicts seethes in his own world of racial tension when there is no difference between convicts and authorities. As the film follows the three newcomers, it records the grim, ... Written by
Alan Alda on his autobiography "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed - and Other Things I've Learned" claims that this movie was shoot in real prison with real prisoners as extras. During the filming of the movie, its director Tom Gries made jokes with prisoners that they should take Alan Alda as their hostage because that is the only way they can escape from prison. On the last day of shooting, two prisoners approached Alda and put an improvised knife on his throat telling him that he is their hostage. Luckily prison guard arrived shortly after and carefully negotiated with prisoners to let Alan Alda go. They let him loose telling him that they were just joking. Alda also states that no prisoner was punished for the incident. See more »
There is a scene where the young man is asked to buy cigarettes. He finds out why and begins to argue with the other 2 cons about it. As they all 3 walk into the corridor at the the top left area of the screen, clearly the Mic is seen for about 2 seconds. The same thing happens again near the end of the film, when the guard is talking to the warden in his office. See more »
How many TV movies do you know of, that are for rent at the local video store? Not that many I bet ey? Well then how many do you know that are more than 30 years old? None I bet! I know of only one, and this is it! Although I must say that it cost me a pretty penny to rent this one (almost 6 euro's), I cannot say that money went to waste.
The idea of renting this film actually came from my parents who had seen this one on TV in the 70's. It had made a very deep impact on them and each time I'd watch a prison film with my dad he'd start about this one (just as he keeps saying that Le Collectionneur des cerveaux is a great film). When I finally looked it up on IMDb I was amazed that the film was written by the great Truman Capote, which then became one of the main reasons I wanted to see this film and I cannot say that I was disappointed.
The Glass House is a strong film about life in prison and still accurate and up to date more than 30 years later, since it depicts what is rotten at the core of the prison system. I do not imply that anything can done to change it, but I guess the film tells us the sad truth about human beings. What they will do for money, what they will do with power and eventually what they will do to each other.
The performances in this film are very good and since it is quite graphic for a 30 year old TV movie I can understand that it must have been quite shocking back in the day. Nowadays (after Shawshank and Animal Factory) you just are not as easily impressed anymore. I've seen worse on news channels to be honest and that in all honesty is the only part where the movie suffers from it's age. It's just not as raw, brutal and in your face as 30 years ago.
While I have to admit that the story has a pretty basic 'prison' movie plot, the direction, characters and the quality of the acting keep it interesting and exciting. Something not all movies from the 70's, hell even movies now accomplish. While this film hast lost some of it's edge to aging, I guess I have to agree with my parents and say that this is definitely a film that will stick around in your head. Maybe not the whole film but I bet that you'll remember the surprise ending. I know I will remember it, along with Vic Morrow's great performance.
7 out of 10
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