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Brute Force (1947)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | August 1947 (USA)
Trailer
2:14 | Trailer
At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director:

Jules Dassin

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), Robert Patterson (story)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Joe Collins
Hume Cronyn ... Capt. Munsey
Charles Bickford ... Gallagher
Yvonne De Carlo ... Gina Ferrara
Ann Blyth ... Ruth
Ella Raines ... Cora Lister
Anita Colby ... Flossie
Sam Levene ... Louie Miller
Jeff Corey ... 'Freshman' Stack
John Hoyt ... Spencer
Jack Overman ... Kid Coy
Roman Bohnen ... Warden A.J. Barnes
Sir Lancelot ... 'Calypso' James
Vince Barnett ... Muggsy - Convict in Kitchen
Jay C. Flippen ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unsettling "calendar girl" everywoman the inmates have pinned up in their cell was painted by John Decker, who, among other things, did the paintings in Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street. See more »

Goofs

When Munsey starts fighting Collins; he pulls out the ammunition belt from the machine gun and starts hitting Collins with it. But on the following cut; the ammunition belt is now back in the machine gun. Then on the following cut after that, the machine gun is again without the belt. See more »

Quotes

Cora Lister: [Flashback scene: Tom Lister is in his prison cell, recalling how he had given his wife Cora an exquisite fur coat] Tom... oh, Tom! It's the most beautiful thing in the whole world!
Tom Lister: It belongs on you.
Cora Lister: [Putting the coat on and admiring herself dreamily in the mirror] It makes me feel so... I don't know... like I was "somebody." Oh, Tom...
Cora Lister: [Suddenly coming to her senses] Where'd you get it? Where'd the money come from? Where'd you get it!
Tom Lister: Cora, I stole the money. I juggled the books and took three ...
[...]
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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 Scum (1979) 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 bscowlerSee 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brute Force See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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