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San Quentin (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 7 August 1937 (USA)
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1:55 | Trailer

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An army trainer becomes captain of the prison yard and in time, falls for the sister of a hardened inmate.

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

Peter Milne (screenplay), Humphrey Cobb (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat O'Brien ... Captain Stephen Jameson
Humphrey Bogart ... Joe 'Red' Kennedy
Ann Sheridan ... May Kennedy aka May De Villiers
Barton MacLane ... Captain Druggin
Joe Sawyer ... 'Sailor Boy' Hansen (as Joseph Sawyer)
Veda Ann Borg ... Helen
Archie Robbins ... Mickey Callahan (as James Robbins)
Joe King ... Warden Taylor (as Joseph King)
Gordon Oliver ... Lieutenant
Garry Owen Garry Owen ... Dopey
Marc Lawrence ... Venetti
Emmett Vogan Emmett Vogan ... Captain
William Pawley ... Convict
Al Hill ... Convict
Max Wagner ... Prison Runner
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Storyline

Ex-Army officer Jameson takes a job a prison guard at San Quentin. Joe, the brother of his new girlfriend May, is sentenced to the prison for robbery. When Jameson tries to separate lawbreakers from hardened criminals, badguy Hansen tries to stir up trouble by telling Joe about Jameson's interest in his sister. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's dynamite...! A prison full of rioting men! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La révolte See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$365,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. 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

The trailer presently being offered on the IMDb website is from the 1948 re-release, in which the billing positions of O'Brien, originally billed first, and Bogart, originally billed third, have been reversed so that Bogart now gets top billing. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of the boom microphone can be seen moving up the row of men to the left during their lineup at the beginning of the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

When My Dream Boat Comes Home
(uncredited)
Music by Cliff Friend
Played at the nightclub while Steve is first getting acquainted with May
See more »

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User Reviews

 
San Quentin, you've been living hell to me
26 July 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

"San Quentin" presents a good view of what goes on behind the walls of state prisons, not so different from today, except for high tech gadgets that make escape more difficult.

Lieutenant Druggin (Barton MacLane) is relieved of his temporary position as yard captain, much to his dislike. When an army officer, Captain Steve Jameson (Pat O'Brien), accepts a two-year assignment to be his replacement, Druggin sets about to thwart Steve's changes, believing them to be too liberal.

Before arriving at his assignment, Steve spends a night in a club with his army buddies where he meets and falls in love with the singer, May Kennedy (Ann Sheridan), unaware that she has a criminal brother, Red Kennedy (Humphrey Bogart), bound for San Quentin following his capture at the club the same evening.

After meeting May's brother at San Quentin, Steve is determined to reform the young man without informing him that he knows and loves his sister. Red figures in on part of Steve's reform program, selecting those most likely to be rehabilitated for the fresh air road jobs, before based on seniority and good behavior alone. Steve convinces the prison board by explaining how many of the seasoned criminals take advantage of the old system to use the jobs outside the walls as means of escape. All goes awry when 'Sailor Boy' Hanson (Joe Sawyer) pulls strings with Druggin to get assigned with Red on the same work detail. Hanson needles Red about his sister being exploited by Steve by using her brother as a weapon. Hearing about Steve and May's relationship for the first time so angers Red that he throws in with Hanson and they make their getaway. It is now up to Steve to catch Red before he is totally lost to crime.

"San Quentin" has a stellar cast that raises this somewhat routine prison drama to higher ground. Humphrey Bogart's character runs the gamut of emotions but remains true to form as a wannabe tough guy with a chip on his shoulder. The gifted actress Ann Sheridan was seldom given an opportunity by the studio to strut her stuff, but she could make even the most thankless role shine. This time she is given an opportunity to show off her singing talent. Pat O'Brien, while not a versatile actor, could be counted on to give a good performance. The supporting cast of character actors makes every aspect of this tough prison drama believable.

Veteran director Lloyd Bacon delivers the goods in creating a fast paced film with an exciting chase scene near the end, filled with some daring stunt work, especially the motorcycle jump. There is exceptional camera work by Sidney Hickox of the environs of San Quentin, in particular the shots of the yard with the prisoners at times appearing almost surrealistic.


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