ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Inspired by the infamous Alcatraz prison riot of 1946, this classic film noir focused on the rebellion of a prisoner against a cruel prison guard. John DeCuir designed multiple prison sets that helped to highlight the struggle between prisoner and jailer.
The lead character is played by Burt Lancaster. This film is thought to be largely responsible for his rise to Hollywood stardom.
At overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where violence and fear are the norm and the warden has less power than guards and leading prisoners, the least contented prisoner is tough, single-minded Joe Collins. Most of all, Joe hates chief guard Captain Munsey, a petty dictator who glories in absolute power. After one infraction too many, Joe and his cell-mates are put on the dreaded drain pipe detail prompting an escape scheme that has every chance of turning into a bloodbath.
Russell A. Gausman