Written by: Carroll Jenkins on March 11th, 2015
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1955
Director: Lewis R. Foster
Writers: Hal E. Chester, Lewis R. Foster, Cy Endfield
Cast: William Bendix, Arthur Kennedy, Luther Adler, William Talman, Gene Evans, Marshall Thompson, Beverly Michaels, Gloria Talbott, Adam Williams
DVD Release Date: June 25th, 2013
Approximate Running Time: 95 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Olive Films
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
An amazingly gritty and violent crime drama that can hold it’s head up in the exalted ranks of Asphalt Jungle and The Killing. It’s not really a prison film, as the very brief escape footage (from Riot In Cell Block 11) only serves to launch the film proper. The film follows the six (surviving) escapees in their quest for freedom, and there is a fatalistic and noirish atmosphere to the proceedings.
The beginning is a bit talky in the cave sequence which serves to identify each of the characters as individuals, but soon thereafter it hits the ground running and never stops. They flee from one claustrophobic set piece to the next. William Bendix and Arthur Kennedy (Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) are the primary protagonists and each gives excellent performances but it is William Talman who steals nearly every scene as a fallen minister just prior to being sucked into the thankless role of D.A. Hamilton Burger in Perry Mason. Gloria Talbot (The Cyclops) is good as the girl on the train.
Olive films provides a crisp black and white anamorphic widescreen transfer, but please could you start supplying subtitles? A trailer would be nice, as well.
Lots of plot twists and turns keep this photoplay tense and exciting from beginning to end, and the numerous eruptions of violence are quite graphically displayed for the time. Highly recommended.