» O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, USA)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? - George Clooney as Everett McGill

I remember watching this years ago and struggling to stay awake. On watching it again, it became evident very early that my sleepiness wasn’t the film’s fault. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 28th, 2015 at 5:00 pm. Updated on June 29th, 2015 at 8:42 pm.

» Shadow: Dead Riot (2006, USA)

Shadow: Dead Riot -

Shadow: Dead Riot appears to be based on a premise that the same sort of people who watch salacious Women-in-Prison films with shower scenes and predatory lesbian guards will also like zombies and gore and exploding body parts. It’s probably solid thinking from a marketing perspective, but the two elements here have rather clumsily been patched together. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 28th, 2015 at 1:34 pm. Updated on June 28th, 2015 at 1:34 pm.

» Behind the High Wall (1956, USA)

Behind the High WAll - John Gavin as Johnny Hutchins

There are a few departures from the 1939 film on which this is based, The Big Guy, chief among them the deletion of the original version’s most interesting character, the insolent trustee, Dippy. But the story of a warden in an ethical dilemma of his own making still stands up. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 8th, 2015 at 8:34 pm. Updated on June 8th, 2015 at 8:34 pm.

» The Big Guy (1939, USA)

The Big Guy - Jackie Cooper as Jimmy Hutchins

Corrupt wardens don’t normally come like this one. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 6th, 2015 at 3:27 pm. Updated on June 6th, 2015 at 3:27 pm.

» Garden of the Dead (1972, USA)

Garden of the Dead

Formaldehyde can be “toxic, allergenic and carcinogenic” according to that esteemed scientific journal, Wikipedia. But here at Camp Hoover, a soon-to-close prison (a little reminiscent of the one in Cool Hand Luke), the prisoners manufacture the stuff, inhale it, douse themselves in it, and enslave themselves to its unexpected narcotic properties. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 4th, 2015 at 9:44 pm. Updated on June 4th, 2015 at 9:44 pm.

» Crime School (1938, USA)

Crime School - Humphrey Bogart as Mark Braden in amongst the Dead End Kids redecorating their dorm

James Cagney played the role of reformist warden in the 1933 film The Mayor of Hell, of which this is a remake. Humphrey Bogart has the same role here; it clearly requires a tough guy to bring some credibility to the task of prison reform. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on May 12th, 2015 at 10:03 pm. Updated on May 12th, 2015 at 10:03 pm.

» Dante 01 (2008, France)

Dante 01 - Lambert Wilson as Saint Georges

Wow. A prisoner of uncertain heritage is introduced into a crucifix-shaped spaceship and heals all with supernatural powers before fulfilling his special destiny. A little heavy on the religious symbolism, perhaps. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on April 28th, 2015 at 8:25 pm. Updated on April 28th, 2015 at 8:25 pm.

» The Brig (1964, USA)

The Brig - New No. 5 prisoner (Henry Proach) is welcomed into by a guard, with No. 3 (x) in the background

This documentary-style film by Jonas Mekas is based on a play by Kenneth H Brown. A former Marine, Brown had himself spent thirty days in such a brig at Camp Fuji in Japan for being absent without leave; no doubt the film’s authentic feel can be traced back to those thirty days.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on April 26th, 2015 at 2:31 pm. Updated on April 26th, 2015 at 2:32 pm.

» Righteous Ties (2006, South Korea)

Righteous Ties - Jeong Jae-yeong as Dong Chi-sung

Just at the moment I can’t think of a more oddball prison movie; two parts serious gangster flick, one part comedy and one part farce. Does it work? Not entirely, but it’s three parts entertaining. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on April 11th, 2015 at 6:33 pm. Updated on April 11th, 2015 at 6:33 pm.

» You Can’t Get Away With Murder (1939, USA)

You Can't Get Away With Murder - Humphrey Bogart as Frank Wilson and Billy Halop as Johnnie Stone

I love the Wikipedia entry on Lewis E Lawes. It starts, “Lewis Edward Lawes was a prison warden and a proponent of prison reform. During his 21 year tenure at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, he supervised the executions of 303 prisoners.” That’s one way of doing prison reform, I guess. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on April 3rd, 2015 at 6:01 pm. Updated on April 3rd, 2015 at 6:05 pm.