Brute Force [DVD] 
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Gritty prison thriller starring Burt Lancaster as Joe Collins, an inmate at the tough and overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where power-hungry prison guard Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyn) rules with fear and violence. After the suicide of one of the prisoners, prompted by Munsey's sadistic bullying, Joe Collins and his cellmates devise a plan for mutiny and escape.
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
Top customer reviews
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 drama. 9/10
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!
Top flight power performance from Burt --- and the rest is history!
Under the production staff of:
Jules Dassin [Director]
Richard Brooks [Screenwriter]
Robert Patterson [Story]
Jules Buck [Associate Producer].
Mark Hellinger [Producer]
Miklós Rózsa [Original Film Score]
William H. Daniels [Cinematographer]
Edward Curtiss [Film Editor]
1. Jules Dassin [Director]
Date of Birth: 18 December 1911 - Middletown, Connecticut
Date of Death: 31 March 2008 - Athens, Greece
2. Burt Lancaster (aka: Burton Stephen Lancaster)
Date of Birth: 2 November 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 20 October 1994 - Century City, California
3. Hume Cronyn
Date of Birth: 18 July 1911 - London, Ontario, Canada
Date of Death: 15 June 2003 - Fairfield, Connecticut
4. Charles Bickford
Date of Birth: 1 January 1891 - Cambridge, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 9 November 1967 - Los Angeles, California
the cast includes:
Burt Lancaster ... [Joe Collins]
Hume Cronyn ... [Capt. Munsey]
Charles Bickford ... [Gallagher]
Yvonne De Carlo ... [Gina Ferrara]
Ann Blyth ... [Ruth]
Ella Raines ... [Cora Lister]
Anita Colby ... [Flossie]
Sam Levene ... [Louie Miller]
Jeff Corey ... '[Freshman' Stack]
John Hoyt ... [Spencer]
SPECIAL FEATURES [BONUS]:
1. New, restored high-definition digital transfer
2..Audio commentary by film noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini
3. A new interview with Paul Mason, author of Capturing the Media: Prison Discourse in Popular Culture
4. Theatrical trailer
5. Stills gallery
6. Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
7. PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Atkinson, a 1947 profile of producer Mark Hellinger, and rare correspondence between Hellinger and Production Code administrator Joseph Breen over the film's content
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 98 min on DVD ~ Criterion ~ (04/17/2007)
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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