Brute Force

Film, Thrillers
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Despite a loss of temperature through the flashbacks which let in some female interest, this is one of Dassin's best films. Less coherent than Siegel's Riot in Cell Block 11 in its challenge to prison conditions, it draws on WWII experience to draw a powerful analogy between the prison (where Cronyn's sadistic chief guard beats up prisoners to the strains of Wagner) and a fascist state. With brutality breeding brutality in this world which the dialogue (script by Richard Brooks) defines as an existentialist hell from which there is no escape, Brute Force was a notably violent film in its day. The scene in which an informer is herded by blow-torches to execution in a steam press still chills.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jules Dassin
Screenwriter: Richard Brooks
Cast: Burt Lancaster
Hume Cronyn
Charles Bickford
Sam Levene
Whit Bissell
John Hoyt
Art Smith
Howard Duff
Yvonne De Carlo
Ann Blyth
Ella Raines
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