5 October 2005 | yonhope
Tuna Fist salad with a side order of Stool Pigeon
Hi, Everyone, When a sailor goes to prison he makes waves. Barton MacLane is quite good in this 1930s tough guy who wants to marry a blonde, psycho-action drama.
The first thing we learn when our hero goes to the Big House is that prisoners in cells in the 1930s did not have toilets. There is a mixture here of stock footage of a real prison and a set on the sound stage that matches pretty well. In the 1930s it was somewhat taboo to show any plumbing fixtures other than the kitchen sink.
Ward Bond is a very good bad guy here. He looks a lot like Lee Marvin in many scenes. Ward made 21 movies in 1938 including this one. He would make 21 more in 1939 including Gone With The Wind. I doubt if anyone appeared in more great movies than Ward Bond did in his 57 years of life. He also worked in It's a Wonderful Life. He also did Maltese Falcon. Even with all his movie roles he is still best remembered as the wagon master on Wagon Train, a former number one TV series.
Barton Maclane made many wonderful movies including Unknown Island and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He was the only guy in Treasure... who had a girlfriend.
Prison Break could be remade with more expensive sets and effects, but the story here is easy to follow. If you have a little imagination you can enjoy this one. Great cast, good music, good story and interesting examination of the effect of a prison record on someone's life. It also shows us how honorable some people can be when they want to protect a friend.