20,000 Years in Sing Sing Reviews
Starts well enough: a hard-bitten criminal slowly fits into prison life. You see his transformation and think of all the possibilities for the plot beyond that.
However, the direction the plot then takes is a tad implausible, idealistic and trite. Turns out its all about honour. Not necessarily a bad theme, but is handled fairly clumsily here.
Ending just seemed unnecessary. No, I'm not saying all endings should be a happy, typically-Hollywood, one, but this just seems...contrived.
Solid performances by Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis and Arthur Byron.
An anxious hoodlum is assigned to Sing Sing prison. He thinks he can break the system but the warden quickly reforms the hoodlum's thought process until they're eventually on the same page. When the warden discovers the hoodlum's girlfriend has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, he allows the hoodlum to visit his girlfriend. Shortly after seeing his girlfriend, crime ensues and the warden isn't so sure he made the right decision.
"You're pretty smart when you wanna be."
"Not too smart or I wouldn't be in here."
Michael Curtiz, director of White Christmas, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, The Adventures of Robin Hood, We're No Angels, The Vagabond King, Yankee Doodle Dandee, and Doctor X, delivers 20,000 Years in Sing Sing. The storyline for this picture is just okay; however, the character development and delivery of the hoodlum and warden is magnificent. The cast delivers remarkable performances and includes Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Lyle Talbot, Arthur Byron, and Louis Calhern.
"Asking for an airplane would be like sitting right down in the electric chair."
I DVR'd this movie during a recent Spencer Tracy marathon. I am a moderate Spencer Tracy fan but I bigger Michael Curtiz fan. I will say Tracy and Byron played off each other perfectly in this movie and Curtiz delivers a solid pace and feel. Overall, this is an above average picture that is a solid mix of the prison and gangster genres.
"Happy days are here again."
(1932) 20,000 Years In Sing Sing
Based on the written memoirs and book by Lewis E. Lawes who was a real life warden, has Spencer Tracy as Tommy Connors whose going for 30 years in Sing sing prison then more bad luck ensures! Life depicted on this person only serves as a backdrop to 'life in Sing Sing prison' which is tame, uninteresting and outdated! Bette Davis also stars as Connor's girlfriend who appears to show a one note performance!
2 out of 4