An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.
Henri Young stole five dollars from a post office and ended up going to prison - to the most famous, or infamous, prison of them all: Alcatraz. He tried to escape, failed, and spent three years and two months in solitary confinement - in a dungeon, with no light, no heat and no toilet. Milton Glenn, the assistant warden, who was given free reign by his duty-shirking superior, was responsible for Young's treatment. Glenn even took a straight razor and hobbled Young for life. After three years and two months, Young was taken out of solitary confinement and put with the rest of the prisoners. Almost immediately, Young took a spoon and stabbed a fellow prisoner in the neck, killing him. Now, Young is on trial for murder, and if he's convicted he'll go to the gas chamber. An eager and idealistic young attorney, James Stamphill, is given this impossible case, and argues before a shocked courtroom that Young had a co-conspirator. The true murderer, he says, was Alcatraz.Written by
The warden in the film, James Humson, is based on Warden James A. Johnston, who served as warden of Alcatraz from 1934 to 1948. Far from being a befuddled bureaucrat, Warden Johnston was very much in charge during his tenure on Alcatraz. Johnston had previously served as warden of both San Quentin and Folsom Prisons prior to his appointment to Alcatraz, but he did not (as depicted in the film) serve as warden for all three prisons simultaneously. (This would have been impossible, because Alcatraz was a federal prison, and San Quentin and Folsom are both state prisons.) See more »
During the first meeting between Young and Stamphill in the open holding cell, the guard in the background disappears and reappears between shots. See more »
This was a very entertaining film about the horrible treatment of a certain prisoner at Alcatraz named Henri Young who robbed a store for five dollars ($5.00) and was sent to prison. Henri Young was played by Kevin Bacon who did a fantastic job of acting and captured your attention through out the film. There were many scenes filmed on the Island of Alcatraz and some old time footage of the first time Warden of Alcatraz, James R. Johnston. Christian Slater, (James Stamphill) was the lawyer assigned for Henri Young's defense, who had a hard job trying to rehabilitate his client so he could stand trial and even speak a few words. Young was in such bad shape mentally from being put into the solitary confinement for three (3) years, he was like an animal instead of a human being. This Hollywood version is not all completely true about Henri Young, he really had a long history of crime and mental problems. However, this film is very entertaining and Kevin Bacon put his heart and soul into this role. Enjoy.
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