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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.

Director:

Jules Dassin

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), Robert Patterson (story)
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3,374 ( 15,172)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Joe Collins
Hume Cronyn ... Captain 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 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brutalidade See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The movie the inmates were watching was 'The Egg and I' (1947) starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. Both that and Brute Force were Aug 1947 Universal releases so a sort of movie 'trailer' within another movie, which is quite unique. See more »

Goofs

The character Soldier is in prison after taking the blame for a murder that took place when he was serving in Italy with the U.S. Army. Therefore, he would not have been in a civilian state prison. He would have been sent to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, as he would have been court-martialed while still being a member of the U.S. Army. At the very least, he would have been sent to a federal prison if he'd somehow (highly unlikely) been able to get sent to a civilian facility. See more »

Quotes

Calypso: [sings, as Collins returns from 10 days in solitary] "Your old friend Joe was in the hole, and it was worse than where they diggin' coal. He comes out holding very high his head... and the man to blame soon be very dead."
See more »

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 Kleingeistganoven (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Tannhäuser Overture
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
Heard when Munsey is interrogating the convict
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Prison Noir!
22 January 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

This is Westgate Penitentiary, the Warden is a weak man, the prison is practically run by the cruel and highly ambitious Captain Munsey. But the prisoners are no walk overs, they deal their own justice to those that don't tow the line, tired and fed up of mistreatment, and fuelled by the Munsey influenced suicide of a popular inmate, the prisoners, led by big Joe Collins, plot a break out, the fear of failure not even an option.

Brute Force is a cracking moody picture directed with innovation by Jules Dassin and starring Burt Lancaster (brilliant as Joe Collins), Hume Cronyn (Munsey), Charles Bickford (Gallagher) and lady support (shown in excellent flashbacks) from Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, Ella Raines and Anita Colby. We open in the pouring rain at the monolithic gates of Westgate Penitentiary, Dassin's camera looking up at the gate like some foreboding warning, William Daniels black and white photography is stark and making its point, all this as Miklos Rozsa's score thunders in our ears, it's clear that this is going to be a mean and moody prison picture.

So it proves to be, sure all the formula traits that lace most prison films are in here, but Dassin and his team have managed to harness an oppressive feel to put us the viewer within the walls of Westgate as well. This is a bleak place, there are six men to a prison cell, their only chance of staying sane is memories of loved ones and a unified spirit to not be put upon by the vile Munsey, we are privy to everything, we ourselves are part of the furniture. Brute Force thankfully doesn't disappoint with its ending, the tension has been built up perfectly, the mood is set, so when the ending comes it's explosive and a truly fitting finale to what has been a first rate prison drama. 9/10


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