The Last Mile Reviews

  • Jan 08, 2017

    another indy pre-code prison picture

    another indy pre-code prison picture

  • May 16, 2015

    Made in the thirties, this black and white film, using the technology of that time, lets you know right away that it's not from our age. Pretty basic film making. But, with that said, this is one, awesome film, especially the scenes involving the interplay of these men on death row. So, just allow the few awkward moments in this semi-masterpiece to fly by as you take a journey into the minds of men living out their lives while certain death hovers over them.

    Made in the thirties, this black and white film, using the technology of that time, lets you know right away that it's not from our age. Pretty basic film making. But, with that said, this is one, awesome film, especially the scenes involving the interplay of these men on death row. So, just allow the few awkward moments in this semi-masterpiece to fly by as you take a journey into the minds of men living out their lives while certain death hovers over them.

  • Jul 16, 2012

    The Last Mile is based on a stage play by John Wexley, and the first half of this cinematic adaptation really shows that. The film is very static, the dialogue preachy and more suited to the theatre than the cinema. But then, in the second half, the film switches gear. It is no longer about the moralities of execution, but about a prison break out. The violence, which has been implied and shown off screen so far, becomes the focus of this film. Questions about who is morally superior become shaded in grey - is the warden just as bad for letting his brother-in-law die? For forcing his men to gun through the walls with a machine gun? This is the only film directed by Sam Bischoff - and the inexperience behind the camera shows. It is all rather workman-like. I think in the right hands, the second half of this film could have been truly explosive - as it is it is merely entertaining. Though that's not a bad thing. The lead is Howard Phillips - repeating his stage role - is almost unknown but acquits himself admirably to the role. Preston S. Foster was suitably menacing as Mears. Phillips disappeared from the screen after this and Foster continued to screen act until the mid-60s but in almost nothing of note. This then, is a minor film from minor talents of the screen. A curio from a different age. But if you're into early Hollywood, and the moment before the Hays-code cut all the sex and violence from cinema, then this is a curio worth seeking out for historic value at least.

    The Last Mile is based on a stage play by John Wexley, and the first half of this cinematic adaptation really shows that. The film is very static, the dialogue preachy and more suited to the theatre than the cinema. But then, in the second half, the film switches gear. It is no longer about the moralities of execution, but about a prison break out. The violence, which has been implied and shown off screen so far, becomes the focus of this film. Questions about who is morally superior become shaded in grey - is the warden just as bad for letting his brother-in-law die? For forcing his men to gun through the walls with a machine gun? This is the only film directed by Sam Bischoff - and the inexperience behind the camera shows. It is all rather workman-like. I think in the right hands, the second half of this film could have been truly explosive - as it is it is merely entertaining. Though that's not a bad thing. The lead is Howard Phillips - repeating his stage role - is almost unknown but acquits himself admirably to the role. Preston S. Foster was suitably menacing as Mears. Phillips disappeared from the screen after this and Foster continued to screen act until the mid-60s but in almost nothing of note. This then, is a minor film from minor talents of the screen. A curio from a different age. But if you're into early Hollywood, and the moment before the Hays-code cut all the sex and violence from cinema, then this is a curio worth seeking out for historic value at least.

  • Nov 25, 2007

    Nifty little classic, it is not a well known title but its a great story, well acted and directed.

    Nifty little classic, it is not a well known title but its a great story, well acted and directed.

  • Mar 04, 2007

    The Last Mile Starring: Howard Phillips, Preston Foster, Alec Francis, and Albert Smith Director: Samuel Bischoff Dick Walters (Phillips) is wrongly convicted of murdering his business partner and just before his execution, he is caught up in a death-house uprising led by "Killer" Mears (Foster). Will Walters survive long enough to learn that he's received a last minute stay of execution? "The Last Mile" is one of those movies that puts the drama in melodrama. Overacted in every conceivable way and showing its roots as a stage play so obviously one wonders why they credited a screenwriter at all, it moves along slowly and predictably. The film also never misses an opportunity to flog its anti-death penalty message, altough one wonders why any of the writers thought Mears would make a good spokes-character for the inhumanity of capital punishment. If anything, he's an argument for taking murderers straight from the courthouse to a gas chamber. I imagine dedicated opponents of capital punishment might find this film a good reaffirmation of their faith, if they can tolerate over-the-top acting from just about the entire cast. As for me, I just found it dull and a little of the mark.

    The Last Mile Starring: Howard Phillips, Preston Foster, Alec Francis, and Albert Smith Director: Samuel Bischoff Dick Walters (Phillips) is wrongly convicted of murdering his business partner and just before his execution, he is caught up in a death-house uprising led by "Killer" Mears (Foster). Will Walters survive long enough to learn that he's received a last minute stay of execution? "The Last Mile" is one of those movies that puts the drama in melodrama. Overacted in every conceivable way and showing its roots as a stage play so obviously one wonders why they credited a screenwriter at all, it moves along slowly and predictably. The film also never misses an opportunity to flog its anti-death penalty message, altough one wonders why any of the writers thought Mears would make a good spokes-character for the inhumanity of capital punishment. If anything, he's an argument for taking murderers straight from the courthouse to a gas chamber. I imagine dedicated opponents of capital punishment might find this film a good reaffirmation of their faith, if they can tolerate over-the-top acting from just about the entire cast. As for me, I just found it dull and a little of the mark.