BRUTE FORCE (1947) B/W 98m dir: Jules Dassin
w/Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, Ella Raines, Anita Colby, Sam Levene, Howard Duff, Art Smith, Jeff Corey
Expertly made prison drama. Prisoners plan to pull off a prison break and get even with a sadistic guard.
From Variety 's review of the film: "A close up on prison life and prison methods, Brute Force is a showmanly mixture of gangster melodrama, sociological exposition, and sex [from a story by Robert Patterson]. The s.a. elements are plausible and realistic, well within the bounds, but always pointing up the femme fatale. Thus Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, Ella Raines and Anita Colby are the women on the 'outside' whose machinations, wiles or charms accounted for their man being on the 'inside.'
"Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Sam Levene, Howard Duff, Art Smith and Jeff Corey, along with Hume Cronyn as the machinating prison captain (later warden), are the 'inside' cast. ...
"Bristling, biting dialog by Richard Brooks paints broad cameos as each character takes shape under existing prison life. ... The aspect of an audience rooting for the prisoners plotting a jailbreak is given a sharp turnabout, at the proper time, to point up that brute force by prisoners is as wrong as the brute force exercised by their keepers."
From The Movie Guide: "Classic prison melo, BRUTE FORCE followed THE KILLERS, for Burt Lancaster, establishing him as a dangerously sexy lug in the most interesting period of his career. The predictable premise was directed with innovation by Jules Dassin and also featured the debut of Howard Duff, among a stellar cast. Flashbacks lead to actresses as well, and there's an interesting, untypical job by Hume Cronyn. [Miklos] Rozsa's pounding score and a savage climax make BRUTE FORCE first rate all the way."