Brute Force (1947)
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Burt Lancaster had one of his first starring roles in this hard-hitting prison drama. Capt. Munsey (Hume Cronyn) is a cruel, corrupt prison guard who has his own less-than-ethical ways of dealing with inmates, enough so that Joe Collins (Lancaster) -- the toughest inmate in the cell block -- has decided to break out. Collins tries to persuade Gallagher (Charles Bickford), the unofficial leader of the inmates and editor of the prison newspaper, to join him, but Gallagher thinks Collins' plan won't work. However, Collins does have the support of his cellmates, most of whom, like himself, wandered into a life of crime thanks to love and good intentions. Tom Lister (Whit Bissell) was an accountant who altered the books so he could buy his wife a mink coat. Soldier (Howard Duff) fell in love with an Italian girl during World War II and took the rap for her when she murdered her father. Collins pulled a bank job to raise money to pay for an operation that could possibly get his girl out of a wheelchair. And Spencer (John Hoyt) made the mistake of getting involved with a female con artist. After Munsey drives Tom to suicide and prevents Gallagher from obtaining parole, Gallagher joins up with Collins and his men in the escape attempt. Director Jules Dassin would next direct the influential noir drama The Naked City; six years later, he would move to Europe after political blacklisting prevented him from continuing to work in the United States. … More
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Critic Reviews for Brute Force
The escape sequence has the spatial intricacy of the heist in Dassin's Rififi, but the tone is tougher, bleaker, and more suspenseful.
Bristling, biting dialog by Richard Brooks paints broad cameos as each character takes shape under existing prison life.
Producer Joan Harrison, who seems to have profited from a long association with Alfred Hitchcock, and Director Irving Pichel have created mounting suspense which comes to a distinctly surprising and explosive climax as the jury brings its verdict.
Starring Burt Lancaster and cast against type Hume Cronyn, Dassin's first foray into noir is one of the bleakest and most powerful crime prison melodramas ever made, an existential chronicle that also serves as an allegory of American society at large
Moralista, misógino e maniqueísta, este é um filme terrivelmente datado que tem como principal mérito o fato de ter sido fundamental para alavancar a carreira de Lancaster.
The title says it all in Jules Dassin's bare-knuckle prison thriller, one of the most brutal films about caged men ever made.
Flashbacks are used to enable the injection of love interests, but the still claustrophobic action and escape attempt make for an explosive climax.
Audience Reviews for Brute Force
Excellent prison escape flick with Burt Lancaster butting heads with sadistic guard Capt. Munsey (a young Hume Cronyn -- imagine a more vicious version of Percy from The Green Mile). Several inmates at Westgate prison have come up dead or injured, and there is some suspicion that Munsey's way of doing his job may be to blame. There are several pretty shocking scenes, and the scene where Munsey literally beats information out of one prisoner has an almost homoerotic S/M feel to it. The climactic battle between the guards and the inmates is as exciting as anything Hollywood has come up with in recent years, and the ending is satisfying. Highly recommended.More
What saves this movie from being a typical prison flick is its good ending although it would have been better without those crappy last lines said by the doctorMore
gritty drama about a prison break. burt lancaster is outstanding in only his second film after a great debut in the killers and hume cronyn plays against type as a sadistic guard. there's some sappy melodrama in the flashback scenes but overall pretty damn goodMore
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