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20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Brash hoodlum Tom Connors enters Sing Sing cocksure of himself and disrespectful toward authority, but his tough but compassionate warden changes him.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Lewis E. Lawes (book) (as Warden Lewis E. Lawes), Wilson Mizner (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Tommy Connors
Bette Davis ... Fay Wilson
Arthur Byron ... Warden Paul Long
Lyle Talbot ... Bud Saunders
Warren Hymer ... Hype
Louis Calhern ... Joe Finn
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Storyline

Tom Connors is sentenced to Sing Sing believing his influential friends will soon have him out on parole. A trouble maker, he gets ninety days in solitary and no parole. His girlfriend Fay is injured and Warden Long lets Tom visit her on his honor to return. During a fight with mobster Joe Finn Fay shoots Finn, Tom jumps out the window and is blamed for the death. He gives himself up but is sentenced to the electric chair. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

TOUGHEST HELL-HOLE IN THE WORLD! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film was never considered for any film awards, it received overwhelmingly positive reviews from film critics and audiences alike. See more »

Goofs

When the warden's letter of resignation is shown, it's addressed to "The Honorable Governor Strang" in Albany. The letter is dated June 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt (soon to be elected President) was Governor from 1929-1933. See more »

Quotes

Reporter #2: That's your castle on the Hudson, Tommy.
Tommy Connors: Hi ya, Sing Sing. What a lousy name. Sounds like a Chop Suey joint.
See more »

Connections

Featured in When the Talkies Were Young (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Loves Me
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Played on a record in Rockliffe Fellowes' place
See more »

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User Reviews

Graphic
10 November 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

As I write this, "Shawshank Redemption" is IMDb's number two top movie of all time. I find that absolutely fascinating.

The prison movie isn't quite a genre to itself because the story possibilities vary so. But there is a definite collection of cinematic devices that are used in nearly all of them, only "Silence of the Lambs" excepted that I can recall.

This film may be the first to set that collection of cinematic devices. It has a lame redemption story and quite ineffective acting styles. But the way the story is told in images is masterful. The filmmaker is Michael Curtiz, who you will know as the man who took a B movie and framed it beautifully as "Casablanca."

His is an approach very much like the "graphic novel" trend sweeping across Hollywood right now. Simple compositions, starkly presented to be easy to read. A consistent pulse in the way scenes change. Strict attention to the way the brightness is modulated slowly throughout the thing. And of course within this, some shots of prison life that have since become almost mandatory. (Thank God, that slamming door sound effect hadn't found its way into movies yet.)

So, if you are interested in cinematic storytelling, this is something of a must for you.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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