Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.
Philo takes part in a bare knuckle fight - as he does - to make some more money than he can earn from his car repair business. He decides to retire from fighting, but when the Mafia come ... See full summary »
Buddy Van Horn
The true story of three inmates who attempt a daring escape from the infamous prison, Alcatraz Island. Although no-one had managed to escape before, bank robber Frank Morris masterminded this elaborately detailed and, as far as anyone knows, ultimately successful, escape. In 29 years, this seemingly impenetrable federal penitentiary, which housed Al Capone and "Birdman" Robert Stroud, was only broken once by three inmates never heard of again. Written by
On the boat ride over to the prison from San Francisco a radar unit can be seen spinning on top of the boat. That type of radar transponder wasn't developed until the mid 1970s. According to the information on screen, this took place in 1960. See more »
I knew when it said directed by Don Siegel it would be good. Eastwood was a great actor but his best work was with other people directing. Like the above reviewers, I concur, the drama is what works. Everything is understated here, no explosions, kung fu, screaming, all the things that make todays movies so awful. By the way, check out Siegel's Noir The Lineup a real gem. Eastwood gives a quiet, downplayed, cerebral performance that befits Morris as he would have been. Fred Ward, always a good actor, plays one of the Anglin brothers. Braveheart's Edward LongShanks plays the warden with quiet, deadly malevolence. Often, he is cruel just because he enjoys it so much. Watch how, just because Doc dared to paint him, not unflatteringly by the way, he revokes his painting privileges even though that is all the man has. Siegel was always such a great director, like his great Charley Varrick, he always keeps things realistic. The buildup to the escape that should have been the most boring part of the movie is actually interesting. There are many close calls, as McGoohan is no fool and knows Morris is up to something. There always has to be at least one Dirty Harry moment, here after Doc chops his fingers off, Morris tells the warden he shouldn't paint because there will always be some A H who will take offense.
That is it, the only glimmer of the traditional Eastwood personality. The rest of the movie he is quiet, watchful and careful. There is the requisite convict in love scene which Morris deals with, yet it does not overcome the movie. You can see some parts of this that were lifted whole cloth into The Shawshank Redemption. This has a greater sense of realism; that is much more of an idealized fantasy. The actual escape is suspenseful; again, Siegel adds verisimilitude by having unexpected things go wrong. There are hidden surprises waiting; also, one of the group chickens out at the last minute. What makes it so exceptional is that in most escape movies, like the awful The Great Escape, the preparations consume the whole movie and bore the audience to death. Here, it is done with lots of suspense about detection. A real little gem from Don Siegel. Eastwood was right to dedicate Unforgiven to Sergio and Don; they made him the Legend he became. Good Movie
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