An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.
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Henri Young stole five dollars from a post office and ended up going to prison - to the most famous, or infamous, prison of them all: Alcatraz. He tried to escape, failed, and spent three years and two months in solitary confinement - in a dungeon, with no light, no heat and no toilet. Milton Glenn, the assistant warden, who was given free reign by his duty-shirking superior, was responsible for Young's treatment. Glenn even took a straight razor and hobbled Young for life. After three years and two months, Young was taken out of solitary confinement and put with the rest of the prisoners. Almost immediately, Young took a spoon and stabbed a fellow prisoner in the neck, killing him. Now, Young is on trial for murder, and if he's convicted he'll go to the gas chamber. An eager and idealistic young attorney, James Stamphill, is given this impossible case, and argues before a shocked courtroom that Young had a co-conspirator. The true murderer, he says, was Alcatraz. Written by
Having caught up again with this film on t.v., I can only support all other commentators who have observed how utterly ridiculous is the American Academy Award system for not having even nominated the utterly brilliant performance by Kevin Bacon in this film for the best actor award, let alone in not giving him the damned thing! I am always impressed by whatever Kevin Bacon does, and am constantly surprised that he is one of those stars who always seems to creep under the public's radar of appreciation and awareness. As to the comments about the film not exactly being the "true" story of Henri Young, there again it always come down to the precise meaning and interpretation of a film's initial caveat of "inspired by a true story". Certainly, the film will have me searching the internet for more of the "true" facts of this harrowing story. And whether exactly the film was totally "true" or not, as any visitor to Alcatraz (as I have been myself) can tell you, just imagine yourself in any part of that prison in its heyday and say whether any filmic representation needs to be totally 100% accurate to convey the horrendous nature of what it must have been like there. Returning to the antics of the members of the U.S. Academy Award, their failures over this Kevin Bacon performance remind me of the time they robbed Cate Blanchett for her out of this world outstanding performance in "Elizabeth" in favour of that whimpering blonde piece of fluffy air Gwyneth Paltrow for the paltry "Shakespeare in Love".
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