13 user 7 critic

Canon City (1948)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 30 June 1948 (USA)
Twelve inmates plan a prison break from the Colorado State Penitentiary but one of them reluctantly joins the group.


Crane Wilbur


Crane Wilbur (original screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Brady ... Jim Sherbondy
Jeff Corey ... Carl Schwartzmiller
Whit Bissell ... Heilman
Stanley Clements ... New
Charles Russell ... Tolley
DeForest Kelley ... Smalley
Ralph Byrd ... Officer Gray
Mabel Paige ... Mrs. Oliver
Roy Best Roy Best ... Himself (as Warden Roy Best)
Henry Brandon ... Freeman
Alfred Linder Alfred Linder ... Lavergne
Robert Bice ... Morgan
Ray Bennett ... Willie Bennett
Robert Kellard ... Officer Winston R. Williams
Richard Irving Richard Irving ... George Hernandez


This movie centers around a prison escape from the Colorado State Penitentiary. There are 12 escapees and it shows the efforts placed to capture these men. Written by Gerald W. Riley

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...Where It Actually Happened With The People It Happened To! (original poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 June 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blood on the Snow See more »


Box Office


$424,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,200,000, 31 December 1948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryan Foy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Lee Server's book "Handsome Johnny", mobster John Roselli was an uncredited co-producer for this film. See more »


Immediately after the prison break, there's a shot of a crowd of people leaving a movie theatre, with Abbott & Costello in The Noose Hangs High (another Eagle-Lion release) prominently displayed on the readerboard. Only problem is, the break took place 30 December 1947, and The Noose Hangs High wasn't released until the end of the following April. See more »


Referenced in Let's Go to the Movies (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

Prison Break Docudrama from 1948
27 May 2014 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

"Canon City" (spelled c-a-n-o-n but pronounced as "canyon") is an example of a type of film prominent in the late 1940s: the docudrama. Usually these films had a noirish sensibility and were almost always about gritty subject matter. They were part documentary and part fiction -- filmed on location in actual locales with objective third-party narration, stripped-down production values and a journalistic focus on presenting events matter-of-factly and without superfluous emotion.

"Canon City" tells the story of a famous prison break from a Colorado penitentiary. The first part of the film gives us a tour of the prison and introduces us to men who were the actual inmates at the time the movie was filmed; the chief warden of the prison likewise plays the warden in the movie. After this extended prologue, actors take over to portray the actual escape and the subsequent manhunt that put families living nearby at risk as the escaped cons used their homes as hideouts.

The film is very spare and terse, which is not a criticism from me. It's a refreshing break from the Hollywood melodrama that characterized glossier, studio-backed movies at the time. But the film is SO bare bones that it's difficult to feel strongly one way or the other about it. Its bargain-bin look is a nice compliment to the story it's telling, but one can't help but miss the style that artists who came with a higher price tag might have brought to the same material.

Grade: B

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