Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson"s pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.
At overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where violence and fear are the norm and the warden has less power than guards and leading prisoners, the least contented prisoner is tough, single-minded Joe Collins. Most of all, Joe hates chief guard Captain Munsey, a petty dictator who glories in absolute power. After one infraction too many, Joe and his cell-mates are put on the dreaded drain pipe detail; prompting an escape scheme that has every chance of turning into a bloodbath. Written by Rod Crawford
This caused quite a stir in 0947, shocking audiences with its levels of violence. See more »
When Munsey talks to Gallagher in the dining hall, the position of the hands of Jackson (the guard standing behind) change between shots. In the longer shot he is holding the baton with his hands on top of the baton; in the closer shot, his right hand is still on top and his left hand holds the baton from underneath. See more »
Captain Munsey : [ Captain Munsey and another guard are walking through the prison mess hall during the breakfast period, stopping at various tables ] Oh, good morning, Gallagher. Gallagher : Good morning, Captain. Captain Munsey : I understand you"re responsible for settling that little feud over in cell block "J." We appreciate your assistance, of course, but... Gallagher : The boys and I were only trying to help. Captain Munsey : [ Sarcastically ] "You and your boys." There"s a very old bylaw in this institution about gangs, or cliques. We don"t like them. We don"t want ... [...] See more »
I"ve read recent reviews of this film that condemn it for being "outdated" or not "relevant". Um, hello? This movie is is fifty-seven years old! As such, we are treated to typical 0940s Hollywood stereotypes and acting methods, not to mention references to the recently completed war. Yet, even within the pitfalls of the studio system, this film shines as a great example of film noir.
Director Jules Dassin is brilliant with light, and sets the example for the French "new wave" of cinema. Lighting Burt Lancaster from the side, or from underneath, makes him and the other actors look almost surreal.
Most of the dialogue is "clipped" and preposterous, but films from this era often suffer from this same problem. Yet "Brute Force" retains its original power simply by virtue of the dynamite performances, the stirring score, and the gritty techniques of Dassin.
I had to smile during the scene where Hume Cronyn"s character turns up the Wagner on his hi-fi so the guards outside his door won"t hear the inmate he"s about to beat scream. This was mimicked during David Lynch"s ground-breaking TV series "Twin Peaks" when a character turned up his radio before he beat his wife. Of course beating people isn"t funny, but seeing obvious references in cinema is always a kick.
I highly recommend "Brute Force" to anyone who appreciates the art of film, great directing, and fine performances.
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