6.5/10
389
14 user 1 critic

House of Numbers (1957)

San Quentin prison inmate Arnie Judlow asks his twin brother Bill and his wife Ruth to assist him in a daring escape plan.

Director:

Russell Rouse

Writers:

Jack Finney (Cosmopolitan magazine novel), Don Mankiewicz (screenplay) (as Don. M. Mankiewicz) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jack Palance ... Arnie Judlow / Bill Judlow
Harold J. Stone ... Henry Nova - Prison Guard
Edward Platt ... The Warden
Barbara Lang ... Mrs. Ruth Judlow
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Watkins Frank Watkins ... Brother
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Storyline

Arnie Judlow, an inmate at San Quentin prison serving a life sentence for murder, devises a daring plan with his wife and his brother Bill to help him escape, part of which involves Bill and Arnie's wife posing as a married couple and moving to a house near the prison. Although the plan appears to go smoothly at first, it soon runs into a few snags--the couple move next door to a suspicious prison guard who knows Arnie and, more importantly, Bill and his brother's wife begin to find themselves attracted to each other. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man did what no other man had ever done before! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 January 1958 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pastel Penitentiary See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,008,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$500,000, 31 December 1957

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,100,000, 31 December 1957
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (Perspecta Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The radio Bill and Ruth listen to about the condition of the prison guard is a Zenith R511, made 1954-55. See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the film, someone presses a rubber stamp down, and when lifted up, it reveals "The End". See more »

Connections

Featured in The Impossible Itself (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Definitely worth watching, though could have been much more
10 March 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The main point of interest, personally, of 'House of Numbers' was Jack Palance, an always watchable actor, despite his resume being a very mixed bag, who specialised in playing villains and intense characters.

Palance, in a dual role as two brothers, is also by far the best thing about 'House of Numbers'. He does fare better as Arnie, the role is meatier and plays to his strengths far more, allowing him to show some menace and intensity without ever going overboard. He does however do a good job too as Bill, the more sympathetic role which sees Palance more appreciatively understated than usual but in comparison Bill is a little underwritten though still easy to identify with. Overall though, he is incredibly effective at differentiating between the two brothers, a demanding task and he does excellently.

It's not just Palance that makes 'House of Numbers' worth seeing though. The rest of the performances are also very good, with Barbara Lang beautiful and poignantly subdued and Harold J. Stone effectively cunning. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer prison warden than the one played by Edward Platt here, and Timothy Carey is very memorable and quite a breath of fresh air. 'House of Numbers' is very nicely made, with beautiful moody photography that never looks jagged or blurry and the prison is an imposing character on its own. André Previn's music score is ominous but also subtle and composed and placed cleverly.

While the story is less than perfect, there are some twists that keep it from being a standard thriller and there is some low-key suspense. The prison escape scheme is at times pretty ingenious. The characters maintain interest and the chemistry between the actors is continually good.

'House of Numbers' also could have been much more. It did need more pace and excitement than what Russell Rouse managed to provide, especially the ending which was rather too sedate for my tastes. The script is underdeveloped and confused, and while it is not dull by all means the story is less than perfect in execution, too often falling into implausibility.

Overall, definitely worth watching for particularly the cast (notably Palance) though with better direction, scripting and more even storytelling 'House of Numbers' also could have been much more. 6.5- 7/10 Bethany Cox


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