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Movie Info

After being convicted of manslaughter, drunk driver Kent Marlowe (Robert Montgomery) is inducted into the rigors of prison life. He befriends fellow cons "Machine Gun" Butch Schmidt (Wallace Beery) and John Morgan (Chester Morris). Together they bristle at the prison's deplorable conditions and especially the inhumane policies of their cruel warden (Lewis Stone). Rising tensions culminate in a prison riot that may shake the institution to its core.

Cast & Crew

Wallace Beery
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt
Chester Morris
John 'Morg' Morgan, alias John Everett
Lewis Stone
Warden James Adams
Leila Hyams
Anne Marlowe (sister)
George F. Marion
Pop Riker (guard)
J.C. Nugent
Mr. Marlowe
De Witt Jennings
Capt. Wallace
Matthew Betz
Gopher (gardener, inmate)
Cedric Gibbons
Art Direction
Douglas Shearer
Recording Director
Harold Wenstrom
Cinematographer
David Cox
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for The Big House

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Big House

  • Apr 24, 2017
    ***Spoilers ahead, Maybe?*** Since I like old black & white prison movies so much I expected to like this movie as well but I couldn't get into it.For me it was just OK.Right from the start I felt like I was watching it just to be watching it.Things didn't get exciting until the very end with the failed escape & shoot out.It was the only time I was able to get into the movie but there was only like 10 minutes left so it really didn't matter.During the riot I can't believe they brought out a couple of tanks.I was NOT expecting that.It had me wondering if there were ever any actual prison riots where tanks were used to bring the prison back to order.A thing I thought that was interesting was the inmate that escaped, went straight on the outside & seemed like he would've stayed that way if he wasn't captured & sent back, fell right back into place on the inside, the inmate who I thought would never let prison change him, ended up changing in the end & the main inmate you knew there was no hope for, was never going to change.I'm not sure The Big House is a movie I'd recommend.It got alot of good reviews but I just wasn't into it.It's something you'll have to see & decide for yourself
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2009
    an early prison break film. robert montgomery is completely overshadowed by the now forgotten actor chester morris. i'm afraid montgomery would be everyone's bitch at prison. wallace beery is fun and this film made him a huge star. frances marion became the first woman to win an oscar for screenwriting. it's a little hokey at times. i'd like to see what warner bros could've done with it. interesting to note that prison overcrowding was already an issue in 1930
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2007
    A classic jailhouse saga.
    John B Super Reviewer

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