After his death sentence is commuted to life in prison, John Resko is transferred from Sing-Sing to Dannemora where, with the help of a humane prison guard, he becomes a rehabilitated man and a successful painter.
When a vacationing couple in Tangiers run into an old friend there, they discover that he is searching for his missing girlfriend who has been kidnapped by an international gang of white ... See full summary »
A semi-fictionalized version of John Resko's incarceration is presented. John is on death row at Sing Sing for murder. In December 1930, he killed a toy store shopkeeper over a teddy bear he wanted to get as a Christmas present for his two year old daughter, Cathy, but for which he could not pay. Twenty minutes before John's scheduled execution, he is given a reprieve, his sentence commuted to life, and he transferred to Dannemora. He initially has a difficult time adjusting to life at Dannemora, from the uncaring direction of the prison administration including they not dealing with the issue of bed bugs, to altercations with fellow prisoners who seem to want their two pounds of literal and figurative flesh from John, to news that he receives from the outside about goings-on within his family. However, he does eventually befriend many of his fellow prisoners, especially Nick, Iggy and Wino. John dreams of escaping from Dannemora, so that he can be at least an economically generating ...Written by
After filming was completed, Sammy Davis Jr. asked for and received permission to put on a show for the inmates. The warden set two conditions: no racial jokes (which could start a riot) and no sex jokes (for obvious reasons). Four thousand inmates attended the show, Davis told no racial or sex jokes, and the show went off with no trouble. See more »
The store which is robbed by Resko in 1931 has the board game Skip-A-Cross on one of its shelves, which was not manufactured until 1953. See more »
And it was the cast in that interested me into watching Convicts 4 in the first place. And while the film is well made with a realistic prison setting, it was the acting that helped to make the film more than it actually was for me. Ben Gazzara is terrific as is Sammy Davis Jnr. Stuart Whitman is also very good and well-meaning, and Ray Walston looks as though he is having a whale of a time. Rod Steiger and Vincent Price's performances are more like cameos, but they are memorable, particularly Price in a role that had shades of the sort of roles he excelled in. Timothy Carey is the only one who didn't really register with me, doesn't help that here his role is there but little is done with it to make it stand out. Aside from the production values and the acting, I was left unengaged on the whole. Convicts 4(not sure if I know the significance of the title) is not a terrible film, but at the same time it isn't something I recommend. The film as a whole is rather stagy with a fair bit of talk in the dialogue(at times it felt like too much), at the same time it is rather ordinary and slow-moving, and I don't think there was a moment despite the actors that I fully invested in any of the characters. The direction is competent, but doesn't have anything that stands out as particularly unique or memorable. Overall, has interest value and I cannot deny that the acting is very good but it didn't really engage me in other areas and as an overall film. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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