7.2/10
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24 user 20 critic

The Big House (1930)

A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences.

Directors:

George W. Hill (as George Hill), Ward Wing (uncredited)

Writers:

Frances Marion (story and dialogue), Joseph Farnham (additional dialogue) (as Joe Farnham) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chester Morris ... John Morgan
Wallace Beery ... Machine Gun 'Butch' Schmidt
Lewis Stone ... Warden James Adams
Robert Montgomery ... Kent Marlowe
Leila Hyams ... Anne Marlowe
George F. Marion ... Pop
J.C. Nugent J.C. Nugent ... Mr. Marlowe
Karl Dane ... Olsen
DeWitt Jennings ... Wallace
Matthew Betz ... Gopher (as Mathew Betz)
Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Marlowe
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Donlin (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
Tom Kennedy ... Uncle Jed (scenes deleted)
Tom Wilson Tom Wilson ... Sandy
Eddie Foyer Eddie Foyer ... Dopey
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Storyline

After a manslaughter conviction from drunk driving, nice but foolish Kent is sent to a prison over-crowded and unable to properly deal with it's inmates. There he meets veteran criminals like Morgan and his hardened pal Butch. And the system punishes them all, turning them against each other and bringing out the worst. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Timely! Tremendous! Thrilling! Drama of Love and a Jail-Break! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

14 June 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Big House See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ward Wing concurrently directed a Spanish-language version of this film. Pál Fejös directed separate German- and French-language versions. See more »

Goofs

The position of Wallace Beery'd head in relation to the wall in the letter sequence with Morris. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt: Who, me?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chicago (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(1862) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel Butterfield
Played offscreen by a bugler
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Film Classic
23 January 2008 | by whpratt1See all my reviews

It was hard for me to believe that this film story was written by a female named Francis Marion who had studied prison life at San Quentin. Chester Morris plays the role as a con named John Morgan and is good friends with Butch Schmidt, (Wallace Berry) who is a hard nose prisoner with lots of power and connections among the other prison mates. Robert Montgomery, (Kent Marlowe) is a man who comes from a rich family, however, Kent is a weak minded guy or you could also call him a stool pigeon. There is a big prison break scene with all kinds of bullets flying all over the place and machine guns blasting away. Even the National Guard is call to action in one of the worst prison breaks I have ever seen. This is a great film with great actors and an outstanding Classic Film from 1930.


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