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.
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John H. Auer
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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 »
In last art class sequence, blackboard behind Teach is alternately clean or has writing on it from shot to shot. See more »
See it for the actors
Given the actors in this movie, you would expect something memorable or at least above average. The actors do a great job with a sub-par script. The movie drags, which would make sense for a prison flick, if it dragged with a purpose; instead it just seems to drag for its own sake without any thought given to the use of time in the movie to make a point about prison life. I can't think of a movie with such a capable cast, heck memorable cast that was so mediocre. The actors made the movie, a lesser cast would have given us a mess of a movie. Too bad the direction and script are so poor, this movie could have really been something. Watch closely, there is a major actor every few minutes; a star that carried their own movies later. The movie also suffers from the score, when its not sappy it is jazz. Either way, the score does not support the movie very well, and ofttimes makes the movie even worse. The score seems like a collection of tunes that someone liked, it sure was not made to support the movie. I don't know what the director and producer were thinking when they made this movie, maybe there was no director and they just slapped something together after shooting a bunch of scenes. See it once just to see so many memorable actors in a single movie. But once is plenty. It seems like the director was trying to take the Plan 9 From Outer Space worst movie ever award; but this goal was thwarted by the cast. Good performances, lousy film.
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