Carl Panzram is sent to Leavenworth Prison for burglary. While there, he is brutally beaten by a guard. Neophyte guard Henry Lesser feels sympathy for Panzram, befriends him, and gets him ... See full summary »
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Robert Sean Leonard,
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Carl Panzram is sent to Leavenworth Prison for burglary. While there, he is brutally beaten by a guard. Neophyte guard Henry Lesser feels sympathy for Panzram, befriends him, and gets him to write his life story. Lesser learns that Panzram's past is much more violent than he thought, but also that he's capable of being a much better person than the rest of the prison staff believes - or so Lesser thinks. Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Carl Panzram was a viscous creep with a real life bite-your-face-off attitude. Woods played him to smithereens.
Sure he overacted a bit, but Panzram was not the most laid-back guy.
The problem with this film is that it couldn't decide if it was a character study or a condemnation of prison conditions. They also managed to throw in religious bigotry and left-wing politics. It did it better than some films would have, but the ending left too much open.
Woods owned the film. He had Carl as both Genius and loose cannon. The real Panzram was similar. And many quotes contributed to him are scattered about the film. ("I wish you all had one neck..." "I could hang a dozen men...") Leonard did an adequate job as Henry Lesser but played him a bit to "nice." Most of the guards kept their distance from ol' Carl. With good reason too.
Woods fans see this now. Anyone else...your call.
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