Brute Force (1947) Poster


Roman Bohnen: Warden A.J. Barnes


  • Warden A.J. Barnes : [At the meeting in the warden's office]  But it's not as easy as all that, Mr. McCallum. This prison... this prison has almost twice as many men as it was built to accommodate. There's not enough work to keep the inmates occupied.

    McCallum : Why not?

    Warden A.J. Barnes : The world we live in. Yes, we can give them real work. Teach them trades. Produce things. But the civilian manufacturer says we're competing with him. Trade unions say we're putting their people out of work. Nobody wants to help. Not us.

    McCallum : [Scoffing]  Manufacturers. Unions. You might as well blame the weather! What you're really saying is, you can't handle the situation!

    Captain Munsey : Excuse me, sir. I don't think you quite understood what the warden meant. It's not only a matter of controlling the men. He wants to help them.

    McCallum : Munsey, what this prison needs is absolute discipline - not charity! Your loyalty to the warden doesn't change the fact that he may be getting too OLD for his job.

    Dr. Walters : Age, Mr. McCallum, is a matter of arteries, not years.

    McCallum : It's a pity, Walters, that you're a better philosopher than you are a doctor, but I'm getting tired of you in both roles! I was sent here today for one reason: to tell you that if there's any more trouble, if this prison isn't brought under the strictest control, there'll be an immediate change in practically all personnel. We don't want to be bothered any more! Is that clear, warden?

    Warden A.J. Barnes : [Meekly]  Yes.

    McCallum : Clear to you, doctor?

    Dr. Walters : Oh, absolutely. You can't be bothered. Well, that simplifies everything. The great public

    [turning to scowl at McCallum] 

    Dr. Walters : and its servants... You put up prisons, thick walls, and then your job is over. Finished. But is it over? You and your "patent medicine" remedies.

    [Paraphrasing McCallum] 

    Dr. Walters : "Change the warden." "New personnel." "Absolute discipline." Do you know what this prison is, Mr. McCallum? One big human bomb! And you say, "Kick it, and it'll be quiet. Smash it, and it won't explode."

    McCallum : [Turning to Captain Munsey]  Munsey, what do you think of the doctor's viewpoint?

    Captain Munsey : I think, sir, that on occasion, the doctor becomes unduly alarmed.

    McCallum : Warden?

    Warden A.J. Barnes : [Stammering]  I... I... I don't know.

    McCallum : I do. Like so many dreamers... and drunkards, the doctor's emotional words are empty.

    [Addressing Dr. Walters] 

    McCallum : What's your solution?

    Dr. Walters : All I know, is that when people are sick, you don't cure them by making them sicker. By your methods we send a man back to society a worse criminal than he was than when they sent him to us.

    McCallum : Platitudes, doctor. I'm waiting for your solution.

    Dr. Walters : For men like you, Mr. McCallum, there will never be any solution.

    McCallum : [Angrily reacting to Dr. Walters]  Wait a minute...!

    Dr. Walters : All you want is "destroy" instead of "build." What we need here is a little more patience, and much more understanding!

    McCallum : We've been patient too long. And as for understanding, I'm positive the purpose of my visit cannot be MISunderstood. You'll remain here, warden, only as long as there's no further trouble. Good day

    [turning to glare directly at Dr. Walters] 

    McCallum : ... doctor!

    Captain Munsey : I'll see you to the gate, sir.

    [Captain Munsey and McCallum leave the warden's office] 

    Warden A.J. Barnes : I've been warden here for such a long time.

    [Sitting down, dejectedly] 

    Warden A.J. Barnes : I wouldn't know where to go, what to do...

  • Warden A.J. Barnes : [In the Warden's office: things at the prison have gotten progressively worse]  What's the answer to it? Are we going to have to keep every prisoner in ritual solitary? Other prisons must have the same problems, but they clear them up, keep things running smoothly.

    Captain Munsey : We've been through difficult times before, Warden.

    Warden A.J. Barnes : Oh, never like this. And McCollum is coming tomorrow. Why? Why can't he let me alone? Everything's gone wrong. I don't know who's to blame, but... I do know that every prisoner hates us.

    Captain Munsey : Not us. Me. It's ME they hate.

    Dr. Walters : [Sarcastically]  I wonder why?

    Captain Munsey : [to Dr. Walters]  You put on a guard's uniform and see how much they love YOU.

    Captain Munsey : [Directing his attention to the Warden]  You talk to the prisoners over a loudspeaker. I talk to them with a club. You only MAKE the rules. I have to enforce them.

    Warden A.J. Barnes : Maybe it's the way you enforce them.

    Captain Munsey : Maybe it is.

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