After a manslaughter conviction from drunk driving, nice but foolish Kent is sent to a prison over-crowded and unable to properly deal with its 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 <email@example.com>
This film's television premiere took place in Philadelphia Wednesday 24 April 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed by New Haven CT 1 May 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), by Altoona PA 8 May 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), by Chicago 18 May 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), by Los Angeles 16 June 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), by Hartford CT 3 July 1957 on WHCT (Channel 18), by Norfolk VA 8 August 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3), by Seattle 29 September 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Portland OR 15 October 1957 on KGW (Channel 8), by San Francisco 22 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), by Minneapolis 22 July 1958 on WTCN (Channel 11), and, finally, by New York City 25 August 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
When Anne comes to visit Kent at the prison, and he walks up and says 'Hi sis,' the shadow of the microphone falls across her. See more »
Ring the Bells of Heaven
Music by George Frederick Root
Words by William O. Cushing
Sung by the Prisoners in Chapel See more »
Even after 77 years, The Big House is still the grand daddy of all prison films. Though films like Shawshank Redemption and a personal favorite of mine, Brubaker, with no Code restrictions can be a lot more graphic, still The Big House will shock as well as entertain.
Wallace Beery got a Best Actor nomination for being hardened killer Butch Schmidt who's a lifer in the state penitentiary. He and cell mate Chester Morris have a new man in their little abode in the person of a young Robert Montgomery.
Montgomery's only a kid, but he's done a man size crime of manslaughter in a vehicular homicide where he was no doubt good and sloshed on prohibition rotgut. Montgomery is a weakling in a place where that's not a good thing.
All the clichés about prison films really do start here, culminating in the final crash-out where a whole lot of people get themselves killed. It's a scene well staged, very similar to the breakout in Brute Force.
As the story progresses you'll see plot elements from Brute Force and from Warner Brothers Each Dawn I Die. The cast does a marvelous job and that also includes Lewis Stone as a Judge Hardy like warden.
If you like prison films, this one's the grand daddy of them all.
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