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Brute Force (1947)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | August 1947 (USA)
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At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Joe Collins
... Captain Munsey
... Gallagher
... Gina Ferrara
... Ruth
... Cora Lister
... Flossie
... Louie Miller
... 'Freshman' Stack
... Spencer
... Kid Coy
... Warden A.J. Barnes
Sir Lancelot ... 'Calypso' James
... Muggsy - Convict in Kitchen
... Hodges - Guard
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Storyline

At overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where violence and fear are the norm and the warden has less power than guards and leading prisoners, the least contented prisoner is tough, single-minded Joe Collins. Most of all, Joe hates chief guard Captain Munsey, a petty dictator who glories in absolute power. After one infraction too many, Joe and his cell-mates are put on the dreaded drain pipe detail; prompting an escape scheme that has every chance of turning into a bloodbath. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mark Hellinger's POWER PACKED PICTURE! (re-release print ad - mostly caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

August 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brutalidade  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second of three films that Burt Lancaster made for Mark Hellinger, the writer-producer who discovered the former acrobat and turned him into a movie star. The first of these was The Killers (1946) and the three-picture contract was completed with Criss Cross (1949), a film Hellinger never lived to see, as he died before production began. His widow insisted that Lancaster honor the contract he had with her husband. See more »

Goofs

When Munsey talks to Gallagher in the dining hall, the position of the hands of Jackson (the guard standing behind) change between shots. In the longer shot he is holding the baton with his hands on top of the baton; in the closer shot, his right hand is still on top and his left hand holds the baton from underneath. See more »

Quotes

Calypso: [Guards are taking roll call at the prison cells, calling each inmate's name. When he's called, Calypso, instead of a simple "here," answers with a musical verse, sung Calypso-style] "I'm here Mr. Man, I can't tell no lie. And I'll be right here till the day I die."
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Crazy Credits

Starring Burt Lancaster - Hume Cronyn - Charles Bickford as the men on the "Inside" Yvonne De Carlo - Ann Blyth - Ella Raines - Anita Colby as the women on the "Outside" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Heartburn (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Tannhäuser Overture
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
Heard when Munsey is interrogating the convict
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User Reviews

Brute Force is a knockout!
30 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

I've read recent reviews of this film that condemn it for being "outdated" or not "relevant". Um, hello? This movie is is fifty-seven years old! As such, we are treated to typical 1940s Hollywood stereotypes and acting methods, not to mention references to the recently completed war. Yet, even within the pitfalls of the studio system, this film shines as a great example of film noir.

Director Jules Dassin is brilliant with light, and sets the example for the French "new wave" of cinema. Lighting Burt Lancaster from the side, or from underneath, makes him and the other actors look almost surreal.

Most of the dialogue is "clipped" and preposterous, but films from this era often suffer from this same problem. Yet "Brute Force" retains its original power simply by virtue of the dynamite performances, the stirring score, and the gritty techniques of Dassin.

I had to smile during the scene where Hume Cronyn's character turns up the Wagner on his hi-fi so the guards outside his door won't hear the inmate he's about to beat scream. This was mimicked during David Lynch's ground-breaking TV series "Twin Peaks" when a character turned up his radio before he beat his wife. Of course beating people isn't funny, but seeing obvious references in cinema is always a kick.

I highly recommend "Brute Force" to anyone who appreciates the art of film, great directing, and fine performances.


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