Noir Month ended with this violent prison break story.
Thirty-five convicts escape from prison. Six of them survive to make it to a hideout near the prison known by their “leader” Van Morgan Duff (William Bendix). All are serving life sentences for murder except Joe (Arthur Kennedy), who has been sentence to ten to twenty years for embezzlement. Duff is wounded during the escape and close to death. He bribes the others to fetch a doctor and help him on the road by promising to share a large robbery take that he has hidden in the mountains.
The six are hardened criminals, with episodic soft spots in a couple of them. The group does not hesitate to kill witnesses in acts of shocking brutality for the time. Later, friction sets them against each other. With Luther Adler, William Talman, Gene Evans, and Marshall Thompson as the the other convicts and Beverly Michaels and Gloria Talbot as women who cross the mens’ path.
There are few surprises in this routine jailbreak story except for the graphic (for the time) violence throughout. The acting helps it along, though. When will noir characters learn that you can’t trust a criminal even if he is a co-conspirator? Especially if he is a co-conspirator.
Some 1941 comedies coming up!