Monday, September 26, 2011

My Six Convicts (1952)

Director: Hugo Fregonese

Starring: Millard Mitchell, Gilbert Roland, John Beal, Marshall Thompson, Alf Kjellin, Harry Morgan, Jay Adler, Regis Toomey, Charles Bronson

More info: IMDb


Plot: A sextet of highly intelligent prison inmates team up with the prison's new psychologist to improve the quality of life for their fellow inmates and foster their rehabilitation.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

#6 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 7 (he's in prison for something, right?)

Well this was a pleasant surprise. I never realized prison could be so much fun. This has got all kinds of cool stuff. It starts out like a typical crime drama from the 40s and 50s with some narration by our main character, Dr. Wilson (Beal). He's going to try some new-fangled psychology on the inmates at the prison, see, and the warden thinks it's all a bunch of horse pucky, see. Then we get to meet the inmates and these guys sure are swell.

Connie (Mitchell) is awesome. He's just like Art Carney from THE HONEYMOONERS (1953), just as fun and the best part of the picture. Then there's Punch Pinero (the GREAT Gilbert Roland). He's a real tough guy at first but he softens up. He was a blast and was one of two real threats to the doctor. The other threat is Dawson (Harry Morgan) and he's one mean sumbitch. I'm pretty sure I've seen Morgan play bad guys before but he was really hardcore and downright scary. He plays a cold blooded killer who murdered his family and then went out for a haircut. He's in for life.

Everyone does a fine job including the central character of Dr. Wilson but, and this is a big but, he's easily overshadowed by several of the inmates who are much more lively and fun...including...BADASS CHARLES BRONSON!

What's he in for? We'll never know but I'm willing to wager it was for murdering a bunch of folks who deserved it...or threw him some sass. Unfortunately we only get to see him in a few scenes in the first half of the picture. Why not the second half? Again, I'm only speculating but I'm thinking he escaped by killing a guard and wearing his skin and uniform to walk out the front gate so he could go beat up some thugs that had tried to score with his girl since he'd been in the joint.

What started out to be your average crime prison drama ended up being downright hilarious in spots which makes it pretty unusual in that it's part comedy and part drama...and it works. You might find this in the corners of the internet somewhere or it might turn up on TCM. If this looks remotely interesting to you, it is and you'll have a good time with it.

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