Tagline – HUMAN DYNAMITE! Told the Raw, Ruthless “KILLERS” way!
Starring – Burt Lancaster (Joe Collins), Hume Cronyn (Capt. Munsey), Charles Bickford (Gallagher), Yvonne De Carlo (Gina Ferrara), Ann Blyth (Ruth), Ella Raines (Cora Lister).
Released – June, 1947
Directed By – Jules Dassin
Produced By – Mark Hellinger Productions, Universal International Pictures
Distributed By – Universal Pictures
Description – It’s a dark and rainy morning at Westgate prison when convict Joe Collins completes his term in solitary confinement. Angry, and with a heart full of hate, Joe talks of escape. They all do, though the ambition seems as hopeless as their existence.
The hate Joe feels is channeled toward one individual in particular, Chief of Prison Security, Captain Munsey. Munsey is a sadistic dictator who manipulates prisoners, forcing them to inform on others so that he can bask in his joy of punishment.
The whole prison is on the brink of exploding, Warden Barnes is under pressure to bring things back under control, and the prison doctor, usually drunk, disapproves of Captain Munsey’s approach to controlling the prisoners and wants more understanding regarding prisoner rehabilitation from government officials.
A visit from Joe’s attorney informs him that his wife has refused a necessary medical operation for cancer unless Joe can be with her. The frustration of these circumstances for Joe cause him to take it out on fellow inmate Wilson, who conspired with Captain Munsy to plant a weapon in Joe’s belongings that resulted in Joe’s term in solitary.
Wilson will pay with his life while Joe has a perfect alibi. At the time of the killing he was talking with the prison doctor in the doctor’s office.
Being able to think of nothing but escape, Joe asks inmate Gallagher to help with the escape. However, Gallagher, having a good job in the prison newspaper and having been promised a parole by Munsey, refuses.
After Munsey instigates an inmate suicide all prole hearings are cancelled. Feeling betrayed, Gallagher agrees to help Joe with his escape plan. When Munsey places Joe and his cell-mates on the dreaded drain pipe detail, an opportunity to escape begins to take shape.
The plan seems flawless, that is until Captain Munsey beats information out of an informant and learns the details of the escape. With this knowledge, Munsey can now stop the plan dead in its tracks. But, that would not be good enough for Munsey.
The stage is now set for an escape attempt that seems to offer nothing but a violent and bloody end.
NOTABLE: Brute Force was one of several successful films noir directed by Jules Dassin. Other include The Naked City, Thieves Highway, and Night and the City.
It is the belief that the desperate and violent escape attempt was inspired by the 1946 incident referred to as The Battle of Alcatraz.
Brute Force provided the film debut of actor Howard Duff.