At California's Folsom Prison, escape attempts and riots are on the rise due to the old-school sadistic style of management of a brutal warden.At California's Folsom Prison, escape attempts and riots are on the rise due to the old-school sadistic style of management of a brutal warden.At California's Folsom Prison, escape attempts and riots are on the rise due to the old-school sadistic style of management of a brutal warden.
The sadistic rule of Warden Ben Rickey (Corsia) at Folsom prison has brought the establishment to breaking point. Escape attempts and riots are now the order of the day. Can Mark Benson (Brian), the board of directors' specially assigned captain of the guards, actually make a difference?
There is no substitute for freedom!
Film Noir has some pretty great prison based movies, where the likes of "Brute Force", "Riot In Cell Block 11" and some French classics are simply must see movies for anyone interested in the genre in this film making style. Wilbur's movie is no classic, but it has enough requisite nous about it to ensure it's well worth the time of the discerning viewer.
The stereotypes and prison movie tropes are of course wholesome. We have another sadistic warden (Corsia enjoying himself), alpha male convict (the always ace Cochran), stool pigeons getting short shrift (hello dam buster) and bouts of brutal violence. Jostling within the pent up testosterone stew is the core question of if prison is a place of punishment or a correctional seat of change?.
Filmed on location inside the famous prison itself, we are taken aback from the off when the prison narrates to us as a first person - stentorian like (Charles Lung), it's a neat device that demands we listen to what the prison has to say!. Wilbur (also prison movie Canon City 1948) keeps things suitably atmospheric and sweaty, while DuPar (I Was a Communist for the FBI) photographs with moody monochrome strokes to emphasise the desperation of the incarcerated male.
It all builds to an explosively thrilling climax, a reward for those who stayed patient throughout the long stretches of dialogue. And then it's time for the prison to talk to us again, thanks Folsom, nice to meet your acquaintance. 7/10
- Nov 9, 2019