HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Escape from Alcatraz Big Break
Year: 1979
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, Paul Benjamin, Larry Hankin, Bruce M. Fischer, Frank Ronzio, Fred Stuthman, David Cryer, Madison Arnold, Blair Burrows, Bob Balhatchet
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Alcatraz was a maximum security prison on an island off the coast of San Francisco; they put all the inmates who had caused trouble in the rest of America's prisons there, because there was no chance they could escape - for one thing, the mainland was a mile away across some particularly inhospitable waters. But the minute habitual armed robber (and escapee) Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood) arrived there in early 1960, he had made up his mind he was not going to stick around. There must have been some way out.

Based on a true story, Escape from Alcatraz was the last film of the nineteen-seventies for Eastwood, a period for him which marked a golden age in his creativity, not to mention his popularity. Audiences had flocked to his movies throughout the whole of the decade, and while that celebration of a man who was fast becoming a screen icon would continue, you could argue that these were his best years, and what he owed the rest of his career to. Part of that was down to his good friend Don Siegel, the director who had kickstarted this era for Eastwood.

And appropriately, he ended the seventies with Eastwood, as this sadly was the final time they worked together, though for many fans of both, they went out on a high. It seems that just about every Hollywood tough guy has a prison movie in them, and this was Eastwood's, yet rather than show Morris as the cock of the walk while behind bars, we had to be convinced this was really no picnic for him, so from the first day he is incarcerated there he has to put up with a rapist's unwanted attentions and an arrogant talk from the Warden (Patrick McGoohan) about how he is stuck here and there will be no easy time of it.

That's right, The Prisoner, Number 6 himself, was the Warden here, an in-jokey item of casting that paid off as anyone who had seen the star's Columbo episodes knew how effective he could be as an antagonist. Here is is all too convincing as a complete bastard, and that was essential because we really needed a reason to support Morris and his fellow inmates who join him on his attempt at a prison break, so offering someone who is so cruel he would take away Roberts Blossom's painting rights when it was all the long term jailbird had, for example, was ideal to have us wishing someone would take him down a peg or two.

So here was a curious premise where these hardened criminals were the heroes, and those keeping them from society and law-abiding people were the villains, yet such was Siegel's skill that we absolutely saw things from the prisoners' point of view, even sympathising with them (wisely we do not dwell on what exactly their crimes were). There was an addition of sardonic humour, but in the main this was sober and low key, full of terse lines and suppressed desperation that built up quite some tension as Morris begins to come around to the idea that he has actually worked out a way to leave all this behind. Being based on a true story, they had to adhere to the facts even to the extent that it was filmed at the Alcatraz Prison, renovated for the purposes of the movie, so the ending was necessarily ambiguous as this was one of the biggest mysteries connected to the place, but that was no bad thing, leaving it memorable for the right reasons. It was not cheerful, but did have a grim irony about it that satisfied - plus Frank Darabont was obviously taking notes. Music by Jerry Fielding.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4032 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Siegel  (1912 - 1991)

Respected American director, a former editor, whose action thrillers were second to none. He started out in lower budget movies like The Big Steal, Riot in Cell Bock 11 and The Lineup but come the sixties he started making higher profile work such as the remake of The Killers and Madigan. His fruitful partnership with Clint Eastwood gave us Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz, among others. Another of his finest 1970s films was Charley Varrick.

Siegel had small acting roles in Play Misty for Me and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers - he had directed the classic original in the 1950s.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: