Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1979. Paramount Pictures, The Malpaso Company. Screenplay by Richard Tuggle, based on the book by J. Campbell Bruce. Cinematography by Bruce Surtees. Produced by Don Siegel. Music by Jerry Fielding. Production Design by Allen E. Smith. Costume Design by Glenn Wright. Film Editing by Ferris Webster.
Clint Eastwood plays a real-life escape artist whose breaks from prisons are so successful that he is placed in the world’s most impressive stronghold, Alcatraz, this time to hold him in for good. Thinking he’s finally got him beat, the Rock’s tense warden (Patrick McGoohan) has no idea what he’s in for when Clint starts making friends and jailbreak plans. What follows is a rich character study that is capped off with a terrific escape sequence. Don Siegel, making his last film with Eastwood, does a fantastic job of twisting the suspense slowly until the gripping finale, a marvelous precursor to very similar films like The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile (right down to the pet mouse!) Filmed at the real Alcatraz, where tourists can visit today and see the real cells where the prisoners depicted here were situated before their breakout.