Wednesday, August 7, 2013

San Quentin (1937)

Director: Lloyd Bacon

Starring: Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Barton MacLane, Joe Sawyer, Veda Ann Borg, Archie Robbins, Joe King, Gordon Oliver, Garry Owen, Marc Lawrence, Emmett Vogan, William Pawley

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Out Of The "Pen" . . . Into The Jaws Of Death!

Plot: Ex-Army officer Jameson (O'Brien) takes a job a prison guard at San Quentin. Joe (Bogart), the brother of his new girlfriend May (Sheridan), is sentenced to the prison for robbery. When Jameson tries to separate lawbreakers from hardened criminals, bad guy Hansen (Sawyer) tries to stir up trouble by telling Joe about Jameson's interest in his sister.  Shit gets real.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Nice!  I'm a huge Bogart fan and it's nice to see an early picture of his where he plays a good guy (sort of) for a freakin' change.  In the 1930s he mostly played one-note, short-tempered and short on brains heavies.  Here he's actually a nice guy but his emotions end up changing all of that (for a little while at least).  Pat O'Brien plays the gentle guy who's going to set the prison straight and even he gets to do something I don't normally see him do and that's show a dark side.  He actually yells in this flick.  Ann Sheridan is A-OK, hubba hubba in my book.  I like the secondary actors, too.  There's lots of typical prison slang and characters but that's part of the charm.  The ending was pretty damn cool and not completely what I expected.  Seeing Bogart start to step away from the hot-headed bad guy without an education was really nice and you get to see him do some acting. 

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