he Secret Cinema will return to its most historic and atmospheric venue
on Friday, September 7, with a screening at Eastern State Penitentiary of
BRUTE FORCE. This realistically violent portrayal of prison life, which
stars Burt Lancaster in one of his first starring roles, was made in the
film noir style by soon-to-be-blacklisted director Jules Dassin.
There will be one complete show, starting at 8:00 pm, which includes the
usual unusual short subjects. Doors open at 7:00 pm, allowing the audience
time to see some of the many exhibits at ESP.
All Secret Cinema presentations are projected in 16mm film on a giant
screen (not video).
BRUTE FORCE (1947, Dir: Jules Dassin)
This, the most violent film of the 1940s, set a new standard of brutality
in the filmed depiction of prison life. Burt Lancaster stars as the surly
leader of inmates who plot to escape from sadistic guard captain Hume
Cronyn. To a taut script (written by Philadelphia-born Richard Brooks),
director Dassin added a classical film noir atmosphere of despair and
claustrophobia. Miklos Rozsa provided the memorable musical score. The
cast also includes Yvonne DeCarlo, Charles Bickford, Howard Duff and Sir
Lancelot, a Jamaican Calypso singer who also appeared in several Val
Eastern State Penitentiary, built in the 1820s, is a world famous historic
landmark, which influenced the design of hundreds of other prisons. Closed
as a working prison since 1971, the decaying structure, which once housed
Al Capone and Willie Sutton, has become a popular tourist attraction and
museum over the last decade. This will be the seventh Secret Cinema
presentation at ESP. The film will be projected right inside the main
prison building in a hallway just outside Capone’s cell, surrounded by
iron bars and memories of convicts past.