Brute Force [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray]
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NOBODY REALLY ESCAPES
Before making the French crime classic Rififi, Jules Dassin was arguably the greatest of film noir directors, responsible for a string of gems including The Naked City, Thieves Highway and Night and the City. Brute Force kickstarted that run of pictures and never did a film live up to its name more.
Burt Lancaster is Joe Collins, one of a number of convicts squeezed into cell R17 intent on staging a prison break. Not only does he need to return to the side of his cancer-ridden wife (Ann Blyth), he also wants to escape the clutches of sadistic warden Captain Munsey (an unforgettable performance from Hume Cronyn) who enjoys a reign of terror over the inmates.
Beautifully shot by the great William H. Daniels, tautly written by Richard Brooks (Blackboard Jungle, In Cold Blood) and impeccably acted by its ensemble of noir familiars, Brute Force remains a prison movie classic.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- New High Definition digital transferof the film
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Original mono 1.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Burt Lancaster: The Film Noir Years an in-depth look at the actor s early career by Kate Buford, author of Burt Lancaster: An American Life
- Theatrical trailer
- Stills gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring the original poster and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
- Collector s booklet containing new writing on the film by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity, and Swell Guy, an obituary of Brute Force s producer, Mark Hellinger, by its screenwriter, Richard Brooks, illustrated with original stills
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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
Now the Blu-ray quality is good in parts but over all not the best I have seen from a black & white film, it gets a 3/5 from me.
You get two discs and a great booklet with information about the film, plus a nice revisable sleeve and bonus features.
The film ratio is in 1.37:1, and the Audio is in Mono 1.0.
Their are Subtitles: English SDH
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!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent sound and picture quality and lots and lots of extra's including little booklet Properly the most realistic prison film that was madePublished 3 months ago by paul block
Rain, misery, abuse, suicide, legally sanctioned sadism, hopeless nihilism; a monochrome masterwork - magnificent!Published 10 months ago by Jack Spratt
Thoroughly enjoyable prison drama that has all the ingredients of a classic film-rebellious prisoners,a brutal prison officer,a traitor among the inmates and an escape plan. Read morePublished 14 months ago by michael conlon
One of the great Burt Lancaster movies as he emerged as leading man. Very male dominated movie with the female partners and key players only seen in retrospect or as objects of... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mr PP Hanley
I'm sorry but I'm going to give this a one star. Without subtitles, this was a film that had too much talking for me to follow. The action (i.e. Read morePublished 16 months ago by C BENNETT