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 <email@example.com>
Former Warner Bros. producer Mark Hellinger, who had started his own independent production unit at Universal-International, wanted Wayne Morris to star in his first picture, The Killers (1946). Warners wouldn't loan Morris out, so Hellinger cast Burt Lancaster, who had made his motion picture debut in "The Killers". See more »
During a scene in the cell, Jeff Corey's character is washing his hair. His hair alternates between lathered and not lathered. See more »
Driving along with such a dream doll beside me, I figured myself a pretty lucky guy. Flossie had looks, brains, and all the accessories. She was better than a deck with six aces.
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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 »
I've read recent reviews of this film that condemn it for being "outdated" or not "relevant".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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