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    Brute Force

    Brute Force Poster
    Brute Force Poster

    Released

    1947

    Runtime

    98

    Brute Force

    What's it About

    Tough, unsmiling inmate Joe Collins (Lancaster) has spent much of his long prison term butting heads with sadistic, power-hungry Captain Munsey (Cronyn). Sentenced to a merciless work detail in the subterranean drain pipe after one of Munsey's stool pigeons is killed in a machine-shop accident, Collins determines to hatch a breakout plan with his cellmates. No risk is too high if there's a chance for escape.

    Why we love it

    Made just prior to "Naked City," Dassin's gritty prison melodrama puts a twist on the archetypal bust-out scheme by revisiting, in flashback, the pre-penitentiary lives of Collins  ably played by an intense young Lancaster  and his crew, colorfully brought to life by character actors Whit Bissell, Howard Duff, and John Hoyt. In a fine performance, Charles Bickford appears as the prison's gruff de-facto leader and newspaper editor who throws in his lot with Collins. The other ace in Dassin's deck is Cronyn as a corrupt, savage prison guard bent on bringing "discipline" to his inmates, while nursing a megalomaniacal ambition to replace the wimpy warden. Aside from the ominous noir visuals, Dassin explores issues endemic to prison life and wraps them up in an ugly finale with a high body count.

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