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Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 18 May 1951 (USA)
At California's Folsom Prison, escape attempts and riots are on the rise due to the old-school sadistic style of management of a brutal warden.

Director:

Crane Wilbur

Writer:

Crane Wilbur (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Steve Cochran ... Chuck Daniels
David Brian ... Mark Benson
Philip Carey ... Red Pardue
Ted de Corsia ... Warden Ben Rickey (as Ted De Corsia)
Scott Forbes ... Jim Frazier
Michael Tolan ... Leo Daly (as Lawrence Tolan)
Dick Wesson ... Tinker
Paul Picerni ... Jeff Riordan
William Campbell ... Nick Ferretti
Edward Norris ... Sgt. Cliff Hart (as Eddie Norris)
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Storyline

Another in a unrelated series of Warner's penitentiary tours in three different decades. This one is California's notorious Folsom Prison prior to its 1944 reformation make-over. Ben Rickey, the prison's sadistic old-school warden who believes that the prison system if for punishment rather than reformation, rules Folsom with an iron-hand. He highly resents his university-trained assistant, Mark Benson, who does not share Rickey's beliefs. Rickey, hoping the results will be disastrous, gives Benson permission to try his modern method. He tolerates Benson's innovations until convict "Red" Pardue is killed by another prisoner. Benson blames Rickey, who had refused Pardue protection after he had reported an escape attempt. Benson resigns and Rickey brings back his concentration-camp program. Chuck Daniels, a hardened convict, then stage his long-planned prison break. A bloody riot ensues in which Rickey is murdered and the escapees are accidentally killed by a dynamite blast while taking... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1000 convicts as dangerous as dynamite ... with a killer-warden who lit the fuse !

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of Folsom See more »

Filming Locations:

Sacramento, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Johnny Cash has said that when he saw this movie he was inspired to write "Folsom Prison Blues". See more »

Goofs

When Benson is on a tour of the prison during his first day as the new captain, he climbs up into a tall guard tower. From the tower's windows we can see prisoners far below. But when Benson looks through a pair of binoculars, the view is from ground level. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator - Personification of Folsom Prison: I am Folsom Prison. At one time they called me "Bloody Folsom."
[laughs slightly]
Narrator - Personification of Folsom Prison: And I earned the name. I've been standing here in California since 1878. My own prisoners built me, shutting themselves off from the free world. Every block of my granite is cemented by their tears, their pain, and the blood of many men. This is a story from my rough, tough past. It happened not long ago after the turn of the century. At the time I tell about, I had within my walls a thousand dangerous...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well worth seeing just to hear the great, gritty narration as the film begins...
21 July 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I was really very shocked...pleasantly shocked...when the film began. The narration was among the most vivid and vicious I can ever recall hearing at a film's introduction! You can clearly tell this is NOT one of those films that is anti-prisoner but is an exposé of sorts about the evils of this particular prison! In many ways, the toughness and style remind me of another classic film..."Brute Force".

Soon the prison has a riot and several prisoners try to escape. A couple guards are killed and the psychotic Warden (played wonderfully by Ted de Corsia) seems almost happy about it! Now he can really make the prisoners' lives hell! He also beats the ring leader half to death...and seems to take pleasure doing this. He also uses stoolies...and then deliberately exposes them to the retribution of their fellow prisoners...all for kicks! It's obvious that the place is horrible even by prison standards...thanks to this sociopath.

Not surprisingly, a new Captain of the Guards is brought in from the outside (David Brian). He's not a sadist but has plans on straightening out the system and restoring humanity to Folsom. Surprisingly, the Warden lets him implement his reforms...but you also realize that sooner or later, the Captain's days are numbered and the Warden will attempt to destroy the Captain.

Overall, this is a very impressive film. After all, the film stars a lot of folks who are normally supporting actors and they all acquit themselves very well. This is also thanks to a taut script and excellent direction. Well worth seeing...and far better than I'd anticipated!


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