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  • Floods are threatening a prison, typhoid breaks out among the inmates, no doctors are available to assist the regular prison physician, three brave nurses arrive to help administer vaccines, and a group of prisoners is planning an escape! In the midst of all this chaos, the prison doctor falls ill, and a former doctor, now in prison, struggles to overcome his bitterness and put his past behind him.

    Well, the first thing i want to say about this movie is that i saw only the EDITED version, 50-some minutes long. The editing is ghastly, and a real shame too, as i am well enough versed with B-movies and plot editing in general to realize that there was a much better film at the heart of this than what was shown on TV and has been preserved for presentation in DVD. This is a movie i liked enough, even in its chopped-up form, that i would seek out an uncut version -- but, given the cut-apart state of what i did see, i can only rank it with a measly "6". I would probably have given it an "8" if it had not been so butchered, because both the acting and the directing are excellent, and the screenplay is well above average.

    What is *obviously* missing from the chopped DVD print? Oh, i suspect that old film buffs can fill in the blanks: There's probably the frustrated early courtship scene; the confession / revelation about Doctor Dale's past, with an accompanying declaration of mutual love; the introduction of the parole idea; some "second-couple" comedic affection between the 2nd nurse and Jackpot, which sets the scene for her later knowledge about his diary and his mother's picture; a few more bits leading up to Gaffney's escape plan; a comedic turn with Minerva Urecal as the hatchet-faced 3rd nurse (perhaps her giving a shot to some prisoner in a parody of a love scene?); and a scene introducing Parker and explaining his role.

    Its amazing how, when simple little building blocks like these get deleted from a film in order to fit it into a TV time-slot, what you're left with really doesn't hang together -- you keep watching with the sense that you must have missed something, but you know you didn't. It's pretty frustrating.

    If a complete print does exist, i'd sure like to see it in order to check my guesses about the cut scenes versus the reality of it.
  • Cristi_Ciopron26 May 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    An exciting action movie with Marian Marsh (as Judy Grayson, the sexiest of the nurses), Wilcoxon as the replacement physician, and Welden as Gaffney; its topic is a jailbreak, with flood and typhoid merely stirring up the mayhem, so their role is only in setting up the jailbreak, and of course in motivating the stressed characters. While watching it, I thought this looks like a movie by Cruze, which indeed it is, and it has the prodigious craftsmanship; even if it might be abridged, I believe its present version, which I have found satisfying, providing enough of what it was intended to provide, is faithful to the longer movie's quality. What some might mean is that this cool action movie had enough plot for a TV series. As such, it's an unexpectedly modern roller-coaster. If one would wish for more, it's the way you wish for more of the best things. But Cruze's movie might be the prototype for an entire genre, the one movie to give an idea of what can be achieved. The director is one of the most unjustly underrated. He deserves another reputation, and the audiences dismiss his work because they haven't been taught otherwise.

    The leading character looked best in his 2nd shape, after he's forced out of his _blasé reticence and initial gloominess, sullen and sulking demeanor, beginning with the setting free of Gaffney, at the dialed door. Once wired, he makes a good physical role.

    Jackpot has a naughty joke about giving himself physical exams.

    So, an awesome jailbreak movie, with a delightful cast, including the supporting roles and bit parts (like the 3rd nurse, who looks well in this part), and action trademarked by a valuable director. It's a dignified movie, with a cast of people who knew their trade.

    To me, it seemed a compelling action movie, the lead has been the strongman of a few prestigious classy early epics. The cast is almost ferociously vivid and powerful, and it puts one on the tracks of many players. The previous reviewers have been endemically unfair to this movie, perhaps from being immunized like the inmates shown here. This jailbreak yarn doesn't lack most of the things asked for by the reviewers, because it wasn't even supposed to need them. You are shown distilled action, this is the genre. And as such, it works satisfyingly, like with other works of the same director it's all sensation; Hellman believed that any exposition is artificial, and unneeded.
  • At the State Prison, there is a serious crisis--the place is flooding and the dam might break AND there's an outbreak of typhoid!! There aren't enough doctors to go around and one of the prisoners, Dale (Henry Wilcoxon) is a doctor. At first refuses to help and is a bitter man. However, eventually, after the only doctor takes ill, he agrees--and soon his old attitude returns and he is once again a healer. While this seems like an ideal story, he's in for a surprise when there is a prison break and he is forced as gunpoint to help. Now the authorities think he was part of the breakout and when the escapees are killed, there is no one to corroborate his story. Dale knows this and continues to remain in hiding instead of turning himself in. What's to become of Dr. Dale?!

    This film is hard to believe but crosses over to sloppy at times. Occasionally folks in the film behave in ways that make absolutely no sense--such as when the evil killer, just before he dies, tries to inexplicably help Dale prove his innocence!! And, only seconds later, the other guy who could help prove Dale was innocent gets himself killed for absolutely no reason I could think of...other than to make the convoluted plot kind of work! And then there's the ending...oh is it sloppy and stupid!!

    Although 15 minutes of the film is missing from this Alpha Video release, I can't see how this would help much since there are too many logical lapses to take the film very seriously. With films like this, I can understand how a once important leading man, Wilcoxon, faded into relative obscurity after starring in "Cleopatra" for Cecil B. DeMille in 1934. He did make many more appearances but his leading man days were over.
  • Henry Wilcoxon is in prison for murder, and girlfriend Marian Marsh, a nurse at the prison, thinks he's been framed like he says wants him out. But will a flood, a plague, a prison break and probably locusts and the slaying of the first born be enough to do the trick?

    Director James Cruze was on his last legs as a director, and looks to have been taking just about any script that came along, and the budget that went with it. He then proceeded to do his best with what he had which, considering the script and the budget that Republic was able to give him at this stage, wasn't very much. This leads to some very awkward shots, some odd set decoration, and a level of enthusiasm about the final, convenient clue that wraps up everything neatly that I just don't find particularly worthwhile.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A flood has swept over a river, flooding a prison and causing all sorts of damage. When the doctor becomes ill, a prisoner (Henry Wilcoxin) who was once a doctor takes over after one of the nurses (Rochelle Hudson) assigned to help the doctor recognizes him. The prisoner doctor is used by force to help several other prisoners escape, and is later believed to be the mastermind. Only the faith of the nurse believing his innocence gives him any hope that he can be acquitted and freed.

    All of this is told in a little less than an hour so we don't really get to know these characters very well or some much needed background story. The original release was 14 minutes longer than what ended up on the DVD so it is very apparent some major plot points are missing. It appears that a whole reel of what lead Wilcoxin to going to prison might have been either cut or lost. Wilcoxin, best known for Cecil B. DeMille epics such as "Cleopatra" and "The Crusades", is the hero. Hudson, once a young leading lady, is relegated to "B" status here; Bernadene Hayes is her wise-cracking sidekick, sort of a poor man's Eve Arden or Joan Blondell. Minerva Urecal (best known from her appearance in a few of Bela Lugosi's Monogram films, most notably "The Corpse Vanishes") is on hand for a bit as the third nurse. The opening stock footage of a real flood is the best part of the film, closely followed by a chase sequence at the end.