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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Brute Force (1947) d. Jules Dassin

Hume Cronyn as the sadistic Capt. Munsey in Brute Force directed by Jules Dassin

Movie Review
Brute Force (1947)
d. Jules Dassin
Criterion Collection #383

  Jules Dassin made some tuff crime type movies that hover at the edge of film noir and anticipate some of the techniques of French New Wave.  In particular his post war crime movies have a documentary feel that is created by unusual (for the time) camera techniques.

 These techniques are already in evidence in Brute Force which is actually his first foray into the area of crime and criminal conduct.  Here, he is limited by the setting a "Sing Sing" style state prison ruled by an inept Warden and the cruelly sadistic Capt. Munsey, memorably depicted by Hume Cronyn.  Munsey squares off against Burt Lancaster's Joe Collins who quickly becomes obsessed with escaping Munsey's grasp by escaping from the prison.

  Aside from the unusual directorial technique and flair, the plot and action is that of a conventional escape from prison picture with above average marks for Cronyn's Capt. Munsey.  Munsey is a memorable fellow with a hint of Nazi style sadism in his voice- more in line with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest type authority than the more benign 50s authority figures.

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