Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.
The true story of three inmates who attempt a daring escape from the infamous prison, Alcatraz Island. Although no one had managed to escape before, bank robber Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood) masterminded this elaborately detailed, and, as far as anyone knows, ultimately successful, escape. In twenty-nine years, this seemingly impenetrable federal penitentiary, which housed Al Capone and "Birdman" Robert Stroud, was only broken once by three inmates who were never heard of again.Written by
Fresh water had to be hauled in by boat to create the rain in the opening scene. Using saltwater would have damaged expensive equipment. See more »
When Morris meets the warden on his arrival, the warden states that no newspapers, or magazines carrying news, are issued to the prisoners. However, Morris' library duties later include delivering issues of The Saturday Evening Post and Ebony, publications containing news items in each issue. See more »
Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 film starring Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGooghan, Roberts Blossom, and Paul Benjamin.
Eastwood is Frank Morris, who, with the two Anglin brothers (their names were changed for the film) contrived the most elaborate scheme ever to escape "The Rock." Their bodies were never found, and a photo surfaced some years later of the brothers in Brazil. The escape, plus Alcatraz's bad reputation, helped it close less than a year later.
The movie gives a good idea of the horrors of prison life, and particularly the horrors of Alcatraz. Frankly, I don't think the escapees cared if they died. I'm sure anything was better than being in Alcatraz.
Escape from Alcatraz is old-fashioned in that it has the art of the buildup, something lost in today's scripts. Today you must get to the point of your story in the first ten minutes. A film, for instance, like San Francisco where the earthquake happens toward the end would be a no-no.
So we see the preparations, and they're impressive - papier mache heads with hair stolen from the barber shop to fool the guards into thinking they were asleep, digging out a grill at the back of the cell and putting a false grill up to fool the guards; welding a digging tool together with silver from a dime; the making of a raft; playing music while digging to hide the noise (though this really isn't shown). It was painstaking.
Patrick McGoohan plays the warden, who, like all film prison wardens, is a horror show. When he sees a portrait of himself in a cell, he takes away the painting privileges of one of the inmates, Doc. When he finds out two inmates are talking cell to cell, he demands that they be separated.
Actually, at the time of the escape, the warden was Olin Blackwell, considered the most lenient warden Alcatraz had ever had. And by then, inmates were performing music (shown in the film), and had weekend movies (also shown).
Clint Eastwood, heavier than we've seen him in years, does an excellent job as Frank Morris, low-key but lethal. There isn't a tremendous amount of dialogue, but with his great presence and Frank's quiet leadership, we really don't need it.
Recommended for a gritty look at life on Alcatraz, and the fascinating escape.
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