Brute Force Reviews
I was surprised how endearing they made some of the prisoners even though they were clearly not good people and willing to do terrible things. I didn't even need the flashbacks of their lost loves for me to care about these guys (but that didn't hurt.) Burt Lancaster was great in the lead, and Hume Cronyn was an amazing antagonist. My other favorite performance came from Art Smith who provides the emotional center of the film. This is simply an all-around brilliant cast.
There was something that bugged me about Brute Force, though, and it hit me very early and wouldn't go away. It's not a fault of the film, either. Because I know about the Hays Code, I know that there's no chance the characters I sympathize with will succeed. By law they cannot "win" in the end and must be punished for being criminals. It's like having a built-in spoiler before you even start watching. Otherwise I quite liked this film and how the story was handled, I just wish there was a chance things could have turned out differently.
Well shot, but damn, its a kick in the teeth without much meat on its bones to make the unhappy ending worth the journey.
The planning is often hindered by Power-Mad Captain Munsey. The film is directed so well & the tension just mounts & mounts.
The film in my opinion is a real comment on violence in society & how it never resolves anything. This is a terrific prison film that's a must see.
Joe Collins (played by Burt Lancaster) is a prisoner in Westgate Penitentiary. The senior officer at the prison is Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyn), a power-mad, manipulative sadist. Collins is rebellious and constantly in trouble with the prison guards. He formulates a plan to escape but a confrontation with Captain Munsey is inevitable...
An interesting look at prison life, and how people act when they have absolute power. The central plot was well thought out and made for a good story. However, the stories of how all the main prisoner-characters got there sometimes seemed unnecessary and felt like padding.
Solid work by Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn in the lead roles. Good supporting performances too.
Captain Munsey takes a lot of pride in his job as manager of the most organized and well guarded prison; however, he reigns as he sees fit, which isn't always "by the book." Joe Collins has a plan to escape and obtain revenge on the ruthless captain in the process.
"Why do you want to destroy instead of build?"
Jules Dassin, director of The Naked City, Topkapi, Never on Sunday, Rififi, Circle of Two, He Who Must Die, Night and the City, and Young Ideas, delivers Brute Force. The storyline for this picture is fairly straightforward but contains some excellent and well written characters. The acting is first rate and the cast includes Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Ann Blyth, and Yvonne De Carlo.
"Now you know what happened to Rin Tin Tin."
I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and thought it sounded interesting and DVR'd it. This was pretty good. Lancaster and his dialogue were compelling and well written. The film is fairly predictable, but the delivery is excellent. I recommend seeing this film once.
"Nothing is okay. Nothing was and it never will be."