BluRay/DVD Reviews

REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE (WB Archive Collection)

By • Nov 21st, 2014 •

Share This:

This is an odd one indeed. Whether by chance, or because someone in casting was remarkably savvy, it’s got one of the best ‘B’ casts imaginable. Gene Evans, a Sam Fuller stalwart, gives as good a performance as he’s ever given. Robert Blake, arguably the best actor of the 70s, is brilliant in his ‘B’ clothing. And Timothy Carey, perhaps the strangest actor ever to walk the earth (stranger than Klaus Kinski…stranger than Frank Thring…), is given free rein to be as outré as possible in the creation of his character.

All this inhabiting a low-budget, rather slight narrative, very much a short story, one without a knockout punch in the third act. But if you’re fond of those actors – and they’re a really phenomenal gathering – you just might have to own it.

Evans is Lou Gannon, a high-level racketeer who finally gets nabbed and sent to prison. Cool and confident, he is determined to escape, but his low-key, almost chummy exterior hides his ultimate goal as he goes about carefully recruiting his prison-break team. John Qualen, good so often in John Ford’s work, is solid here as the old timer. Blake is the newcomer, not given a particularly long sentence, but circumstances (and a shrewd move by Evans) nudge him into the kingpin’s corner. And Carey – he never explodes, but he doesn’t need to go that far to rivet your attention on him whenever he’s on screen.

Director Springsteen did a whole lot of TV, and this production feels like more of the same. It’s a by-the-numbers assignment, not particularly elevated by Eugene Lourie’s and Daniel James’ script contribution. The duo previously worked on THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (James going uncredited, probably because he’d fallen under the shadow of the blacklist), and they would go on to co-pen THE GIANT BEHEMOTH. Later yet they would team up on the much loved GORGO – James penning and Lourie helming.

Tagged as: , , , , , , ,
Share This Article: Digg it | | Google | StumbleUpon | Technorati

Leave a Comment

(Comments are moderated and will be approved at FIR's discretion, please allow time to be displayed)