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Criterion Collection: Brute Force [DVD] [1947] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Burt Lancaster , Hume Cronyn , Jules Dassin    DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £18.84
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Criterion Collection: Brute Force [DVD] [1947] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + The Naked City [DVD] [1948]
Price For Both: £25.60

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Product details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth
  • Directors: Jules Dassin
  • Writers: Richard Brooks, Robert Patterson
  • Producers: Jules Buck, Mark Hellinger
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 17 April 2007
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,327 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



One of Dassin's best films --Time Out

Engrossing entertainment --The New York Times

The last reel is one of the most ferocious and explosive climaxes to be seen in a movie of the 1940s --Emanuelle Levy

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A POWER-house movie! 23 Dec 2004
By Syd
An early Burt Lancaster film, and what a film! i remember watching this when i was 11 years old, as it was one of my fathers favourites.
It tells the story of 6 inmates (of cell R17) serving time in a harsh prison, made all the more worse by a sadistic prison warden called Capt.Munsey, who beats the prisoners with "Brute Force" to get them to do his will. each of the prisoners of cell R17 has his story to tell of the "Outside" where life with their respective wives/girlfriends did them a bad turn, hence ending up in prison, and wanting to get back on the "outside"
The ending of the film is quite explosive and dramatic.
A must for film buffs, and an often overlooked Burt Lancaster gem!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prison Noir! 8 Jun 2012
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is Westgate Penitentiary, the Warden is a weak man, the prison is practically run by the cruel and highly ambitious Captain Munsey. But the prisoners are no walk overs, they deal their own justice to those that don't tow the line, tired and fed up of mistreatment, and fuelled by the Munsey influenced suicide of a popular inmate, the prisoners, led by big Joe Collins, plot a break out, the fear of failure not even an option.

Brute Force is a cracking moody picture directed with innovation by Jules Dassin and starring Burt Lancaster (brilliant as Joe Collins), Hume Cronyn (Munsey), Charles Bickford (Gallagher) and lady support (shown in excellent flashbacks) from Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, Ella Raines and Anita Colby. We open in the pouring rain at the monolithic gates of Westgate Penitentiary, Dassin's camera looking up at the gate like some foreboding warning, William Daniels black and white photography is stark and making its point, all this as Miklos Rozsa's score thunders in our ears, it's clear that this is going to be a mean and moody prison picture.

So it proves to be, sure all the formula traits that lace most prison films are in here, but Dassin and his team have managed to harness an oppressive feel to put us the viewer within the walls of Westgate as well. This is a bleak place, there are six men to a prison cell, their only chance of staying sane is memories of loved ones and a unified spirit to not be put upon by the vile Munsey, we are privy to everything, we ourselves are part of the furniture. Brute Force thankfully doesn't disappoint with its ending, the tension has been built up perfectly, the mood is set, so when the ending comes it's explosive and a truly fitting finale to what has been a first rate prison melodrama. 9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By orvuus
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Riveting performances by Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn make this grandly dark prison drama by Jules Dassin a winner. Having first seen Dasin's Rififi, the three subsequent films I've seen by him, Naked CIty, Night and the City, and now this, seem like grand slam dramatic film noirs, each darker than the one before. This film is also absolutely stuffed with character actors such as Jeff Corey, Whit Bissell, John Hoyt, and Charles Bickford, as well as actresses (the women on the "outside") seen in flashbacks: Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, and Ella Raines.

One review I read said this was dated and predictable -- yes, it's dated, precisely because it was one of the first to show a prison drama on this scale, and again it's predictable because it set a standard like only Dassin can. When the warden is challenged by his boss to use more brutal methods, he is faced with doing what he knows to be wrong or to lose his career, and in him we sense another prisoner of a sorts. The captain played by Hume Cronyn is unrecognizable from the later kindly characters Cronyn is often known for -- here he is like Steerpike in Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan series, manipulating people and events so he can take charge. The prison doctor unveils his character to his face and gets the captain to show what he is really like. Like a fire racing to a bonfire this all explodes in the final confrontation. If you find all this predictable, stay away from film noir, because the genre is mostly predictable -- the enjoyment is in the way the dark side of human life is revealed.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dassin's first masterpiece 10 Nov 2009
Until this day Jules Dassin's Brute Force stands out as the greatest prison drama ever made. Made in 1947 it is one of the beginning movies of Burt Lancaster which has made before this movie The Killing (1946). Jules Dassin made his debut back in 1942 after working as assistant director to the great Hitch on his earliest American movies. It was for this film that Dassin started to get noticed and made an interesting investment for one of Hollywood's most important producers at that time, Mr. Mark Hellinger. This guy went on producing the following movie Dassin did, Naked City (1948). Unfortunatelly due to heart failure he died never seeing the premiere of Naked City.

An unusual prison movie with strong noir elements like dark charaters, doubtfull pasts of cell members, femme fatale, and so on. This noirish flavour makes it unforgetable to every viewer. The action is full of adrenalyne and never stops to amaze. Although made years after Each Dawn I Die (1937) if am correct for the year, ranks still the first movie of its kind in a top that follows Each Dawn I Die with James Cagney.

After 62 years of its release the movie is as fresh as ever and it is issued for the first time in the UK on DVD.

Phenomenal experience, never to be forgotten, that's Brute Force!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a break
Jules Dassin is best remembered for his seminal heist movie Rififi, which he made in Europe following his Hollywood blacklisting. Read more
Published 10 days ago by R. J. Lister
5.0 out of 5 stars Rarely seen on TV this is a great prison story with many sub-plots
Readers of my reviews will know that I am particularly fond of the 40's and 50's. Rarely seen on TV this is a great prison story with many sub-plots. Highly recommended.
Published 2 months ago by QM1
4.0 out of 5 stars brute force
this is a good film and well worth watching it can be a little slow at times but nevertheless the story is interesting
Published 13 months ago by richard preston
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Criterion Collection DVD
Great film from the legendary director Jules Dassin. Not one of his best but a gem nevertheless. The picture assigned to this product here indicates that this is a Criterion... Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2011 by G. Olafsson
5.0 out of 5 stars "Brute Force (1947) ... Burt Lancaster ... Criterion Collection...
The Criterion Collection presents "BRUTE FORCE" (30 June 1947) (98 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Burt Lancaster had one of his first starring roles in... Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2010 by J. Lovins
3.0 out of 5 stars Not that convinced
BRUTE FORCE must have been a shocker in its day but now it is clearly dated and extremely predictable. Lancaster. Read more
Published on 26 Nov 2010 by Movie Fan from Portugal
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
I sent for this dvd BRUTE FORCE 1947 i was only 3 years old when they
made this film that film is orsome that was jail in them times if you
robbed some one of 1000... Read more
Published on 25 April 2010 by Stuart John Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars About time!
One of Burt Lancaster's first films and well worth watching. I have been waiting for this release for some time having seen on TV some years ago.
Published on 11 Oct 2009 by Ray Marjac
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but...
Yes, an absolutely amazing film; one of the best of the classical Hollywood era.
BUT WHY NO EXTRAS ON THE DVD??????? Unacceptable in this day and age!
Published on 10 Nov 2008 by Richard di Calatrava
5.0 out of 5 stars Prisons - in 1947 and now
The remark of the prison doctor in this film that "...we're building a human bomb..." is apposite - even to this very day, when one reads about the overcrowding of prisons in... Read more
Published on 17 May 2008 by N. Baldwin
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