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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Fred F. Sears
USA 19
57

If it worked for Frank Sinatra... Singing star Johnny Desmond goes dramatic in the low-budget Escape From San Quentin. Desmond plays escaped convict Mike Gilbert, who goes on the lam with fellow prisoners Gruber Richard Devon and Graham Roy Engel. While hiding from the law, Gilbert comes to realize that he's fallen in love with Robbie Merry Anders, the sister of his ex-wife Peggy Maley. Through Robbie's influence, Gilbert decides to go straight, but his cohorts aren't quite so willing to reform. Like most Sam Katzman quickies of the era, Escape from San Quentin was loosely based on a true story.

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Mike Gilbert (Johnny Desmond) is a good kid who made a bad mistake. He’s got two years left on his stint at the San Quentin work farm. Fellow convict Ray Gruber (Richard Devon) tries to recruit him for an escape plan, relying on Mike’s flying talents to hijack a plane from a nearby airfield. Mike promises a big payoff out of his hidden stash from a previous heist, but Mike isn’t buying it. He changes his mind when he gets a “Dear John” letter from his wife. The two make their move, but things get complicated when a third prisoner, Hap Graham (Roy Engel), latches on to their escape.

Like Canon City, this film is more focused on the aftermath than the escape itself. Actually breaking out of the facility happens in the first 15 minutes or so, and is as simple as conking a guard over the head. It’s the getting away that proves to be messy, with Graham mucking up the works, Gruber’s ruthless scheming, and a variety of mishaps that keep upping the stakes. It’s a nice script that keeps adding tension (and raising the body count) as Mike goes further down the rabbit hole of corruption, trying to justify his role in the bloodshed. There’s some rough-and-tumble dialogue that isn’t especially sharp, but makes its point.
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Excerpt from Martin Teller located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 5th, 1957

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DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

  Individual Release Also available in the 5 disc Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 which contains (already reviewed) The Case Against Brooklyn, Criminal Lawyer, The Crooked Web, Escape from San Quentin and The Shadow on the Window
DVD Box Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:21:98
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2011
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Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments

Firstly, this is also available in the 5 disc Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 which contains (already reviewed) The Case Against Brooklyn, Criminal Lawyer, The Crooked Web, Escape from San Quentin and The Shadow on the Window.

It's a Sony MoD (Made-on-Demand) product - standard single-layered and progressive and anamorphic in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks reasonably strong for SD. The image quality shows some minor grain and a clean, tight black and white image. It is consistent and provides a pleasant video presentation.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles, nor even a menu, offered. There are no supplements at all. You would buy this solely to see the film.

I kinda liked this cheapo. Fred Sears (Cell 2455, Death Row, The Miami Story, The 49th Man) seems to have handled this material and production limitations very well and has a few Noir-ish connections.  The bare-bones disc is one route but there is significant value in the relatively cheaper, by disc, Film Noir Volume 1 package. Seems like a good buy, IMO.  

  - Gary Tooze

 



 


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  Individual Release Also available in the 5 disc Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 which contains (already reviewed) The Case Against Brooklyn, Criminal Lawyer, The Crooked Web, Escape from San Quentin and The Shadow on the Window
DVD Box Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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