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Brute Force (Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth
  • Directors: Jules Dassin
  • Writers: Richard Brooks, Robert Patterson
  • Producers: Jules Buck, Mark Hellinger
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: April 17 2007
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000MTEFOQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,193 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 12 2010
Format: DVD
The Criterion Collection presents "BRUTE FORCE" (30 June 1947) (98 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Burt Lancaster had one of his first starring roles in this hard-hitting prison drama --- Capt. Munsey (Hume Cronyn) is a cruel, corrupt prison guard who has his own less-than-ethical ways of dealing with inmates, enough so that Joe Collins (Lancaster) - the toughest inmate in the cell block - has decided to break out --- Collins tries to persuade Gallagher (Charles Bickford), the unofficial leader of the inmates and editor of the prison newspaper, to join him, but Gallagher thinks Collins' plan won't work --- However, Collins does have the support of his cellmates, most of whom, like himself, wandered into a life of crime thanks to love and good intentions --- Collins pulled a bank job to raise money to pay for an operation that could possibly get his girl out of a wheelchair --- Fabulous score by composer Miklós Rózsa.

Top flight power performance from Burt --- and the rest is history!

Under the production staff of:
Jules Dassin [Director]
Richard Brooks [Screenwriter]
Robert Patterson [Story]
Jules Buck [Associate Producer].
Mark Hellinger [Producer]
Miklós Rózsa [Original Film Score]
William H. Daniels [Cinematographer]
Edward Curtiss [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. Jules Dassin [Director]
Date of Birth: 18 December 1911 - Middletown, Connecticut
Date of Death: 31 March 2008 - Athens, Greece

2. Burt Lancaster (aka: Burton Stephen Lancaster)
Date of Birth: 2 November 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 20 October 1994 - Century City, California

3.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Uncompromisingly Brutal, Pessimistic, and Affecting. June 29 2005
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
"Brute Force" is one of the most violent film noirs of the classic era, as well as one of the most pessimistic -and this is after some violence was removed to comply with the Production Code. The story takes place within the confines of Westgate Penitentiary, an overcrowded prison whose deficient living conditions and sadistic guards make the inmates' lives nearly unbearable. Prison life is no less than a war between the inmates and guard Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyn), who routinely uses blackmail and torture to control the prisoners. When the warden revokes all the inmates' privileges in response to the deaths of two men, inmate Joe Collins (Burt Lancaster) hatches a violent and risky escape plan with his cellmates and a senior, well-respected prisoner named Gallagher (Charles Bickford).

Director Jules Dessin doesn't let a glimmer of hope into this film. The violence is brutal and wholly without sentiment or regret. The utter hopelessness of the situation in the prison is overwhelming. Brute force is the only means in Westgate Penitentiary. The standout performance is by Hume Cronyn as the Nazi-inspired Captain Munsey, an unabashed sadist who uses social Darwinism to rationalize absolute dominance of the prisoners, who are, after all, behind bars, not free to challenge him. The prison doctor, a disgraced surgeon named Walters (Art Smith), numbs himself with alcohol and articulates the film's themes. "Do you know what this prison is?" he says. "One big human bomb!"

The film is a little too long, and the flashback scenes of wives and girlfriends are superfluous. This is perhaps the most blatantly existential film noir. It takes the position of Sartrean philosophy, articulated by Dr. Walters, which is juxtaposed with Nietzschean philosophy, articulated by Capt. Munsey. I'm not normally captivated by either of these schools of thought, but "Brute Force" kept me interested for the duration of the film. It is a brutal, beautiful film with sharp dialogue, solid character writing, and great attention to detail.

The DVD (Image Entertainment 1999): This is a good print of the film with no obvious image or sound problems. Bonus features include filmographies of director Jules Dessin, writer Richard Brooks, and 3 of the film's stars. (Choose "Filmographies", then "next" to see them.) The "Stills and Pressbook Gallery" (4 minutes) is a slideshow, with accompanying them music by Miklos Rozsa, of production stills, posters, and advertisements for the film.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Brute Force (1947) ... Jules Dassin ... Criterion Collection (2007)" Dec 12 2010
By J. Lovins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The Criterion Collection presents "BRUTE FORCE" (30 June 1947) (98 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Burt Lancaster had one of his first starring roles in this hard-hitting prison drama --- Capt. Munsey (Hume Cronyn) is a cruel, corrupt prison guard who has his own less-than-ethical ways of dealing with inmates, enough so that Joe Collins (Lancaster) - the toughest inmate in the cell block - has decided to break out --- Collins tries to persuade Gallagher (Charles Bickford), the unofficial leader of the inmates and editor of the prison newspaper, to join him, but Gallagher thinks Collins' plan won't work --- However, Collins does have the support of his cellmates, most of whom, like himself, wandered into a life of crime thanks to love and good intentions --- Collins pulled a bank job to raise money to pay for an operation that could possibly get his girl out of a wheelchair --- Fabulous score by composer Miklós Rózsa.

Top flight power performance from Burt --- and the rest is history!

Under the production staff of:
Jules Dassin [Director]
Richard Brooks [Screenwriter]
Robert Patterson [Story]
Jules Buck [Associate Producer].
Mark Hellinger [Producer]
Miklós Rózsa [Original Film Score]
William H. Daniels [Cinematographer]
Edward Curtiss [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. Jules Dassin [Director]
Date of Birth: 18 December 1911 - Middletown, Connecticut
Date of Death: 31 March 2008 - Athens, Greece

2. Burt Lancaster (aka: Burton Stephen Lancaster)
Date of Birth: 2 November 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 20 October 1994 - Century City, California

3. Hume Cronyn
Date of Birth: 18 July 1911 - London, Ontario, Canada
Date of Death: 15 June 2003 - Fairfield, Connecticut

4. Charles Bickford
Date of Birth: 1 January 1891 - Cambridge, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 9 November 1967 - Los Angeles, California

the cast includes:
Burt Lancaster ... [Joe Collins]
Hume Cronyn ... [Capt. Munsey]
Charles Bickford ... [Gallagher]
Yvonne De Carlo ... [Gina Ferrara]
Ann Blyth ... [Ruth]
Ella Raines ... [Cora Lister]
Anita Colby ... [Flossie]
Sam Levene ... [Louie Miller]
Jeff Corey ... '[Freshman' Stack]
John Hoyt ... [Spencer]

SPECIAL FEATURES [BONUS]:
1. New, restored high-definition digital transfer
2..Audio commentary by film noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini
3. A new interview with Paul Mason, author of Capturing the Media: Prison Discourse in Popular Culture
4. Theatrical trailer
5. Stills gallery
6. Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
7. PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Atkinson, a 1947 profile of producer Mark Hellinger, and rare correspondence between Hellinger and Production Code administrator Joseph Breen over the film's content

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 98 min on DVD ~ Criterion ~ (04/17/2007)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
WATCH IT FOR LANCASTER & CRONYN April 17 2011
By MISTER SJEM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
From the violent film noir classics. Tale focuses on convicts pushed to the edge by a militant captain prison guard who later becomes its warden. It's melodramatic at times but it's worth a look for noir fans or anyone who wants to see Lancaster and/or Cronyn in action. Hume Cronyn, by the way, steals some of the scenes (as the captain) from Lancaster (one of the convict leaders who has a wife with cancer). Themes are a bit too preachy, especially at the end, which is a no no these days but back then it was considered okay. DIALOGUE/CHARACTERS: B minus to B; STORY/PLOTTING: B minus; THEMES: C plus; OVERALL GRADE: B minus; WHEN WATCHED: mid April 2011.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
WE ARE ALL TRAPPED! April 7 2006
By Ms.Beyonce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"BRUTE FORCE", ever since I first saw it on TV forty years ago,has been one of my favorite films.Directed with great vigor by Julues Dassin,it tells the story of "the men on the inside",and "the women on the outside.Burt Lancaster,Jeff Corey,Howard Duff,and John Hoyt,are some of the men "on the inside",Ann Blyth,Ella Raines,Anita Colby,and Yvonne DeCarlo are the woman on" the outside".Hume Cronyn gives a masterfull performance as the sadistic,fascist Caption of the guards.All the male characters, which also includes Charles Bickford,Sam Levine,and Roman Bohnen (as Warden Barnes) are oustanding,the women less so.This is not an easy DVD to get,so I wish someone maybe Universal,the original releasing company,would come out with a full-length commetary,with a special emphasis ,on the political repercussions that were felt by many members of the cast and crew of this and other left-leaning films.The films message is definitily anti-capitalist.The film rates 5 Stars,the DVD,with no special features rates a 3 and half Star rating.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Raw and intense classic Feb. 23 2012
By will power - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Enjoyed every last minute of this raw and uncompromising vintage crime classic,Burt Lancaster was tough as nails ,gave a memorable performance as the gangster caught up in prison hell,the actor who played the sadistic warden of the prison was spectacular,this flick had all the elements that made it great, riots,break out attempts, total feelings of gloom and doom, the confrontation between Lancaster and the warden near the finale was worth a second viewing,loved it! reminded you of the old Cagney crime classics, a keeper...peace

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