Friday, November 15, 2013

Vanished from Alcatraz (2009)

Director: ???

Writer: ???

Composer: ???

Starring: ???

More info: National Geographic

Plot: June 11, 1962...Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. In the still of the night three prisoners - Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin, and John Anglin - did the impossible. Desperate and dangerous, they escaped from Alcatraz. Only traces of their bold breakout were found in the frigid San Francisco Bay. The three men were never seen nor heard from again. Until now their fate remained a mystery. Did they survive their bid for freedom or did they lose everything to the San Francisco Bay? Today the Bay Area's own scientists and researchers look for answers. Scientists like Dr. Ralph Cheng, an expert on the Bay's hydrodynamic properties; Tom Belcher, a specialist in underwater investigations; San Francisco Bay Model's Hydraulic Engineer Dan Schoof; record-breaking rough water swimmer Fred Ferroggiaro; and Alcatraz historian Jolene Babyak.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Loud, ominous music isn't my bag when it comes to documentaries like this.  It's just too much noise.  I don't need the score to tell me how to feel.  But this was probably made for the MTV generation that has to have fast moving images and noise to hold their attention.  Now as far as the content is concerned, this is strictly about the '62 breakout, the only potentially successful escape from the prison's near 30 year history as a U.S. penetentary. They go through the basics of the escape and then spend the second half going through the details and theories discussed by the current law officials who are searching for clues to close the case - did they escape or did they die in the cold water surrounding the island? All of this to blaring, low brass instruments and beating the shit out of timpani drums. The information alone is interesting enough to not have such a light and sound show to present it.  I'd like to think these three guys made it only because I admire the intelligence and determination it took to break out of such a tough prison that was deemed inescapable. Save yourself the trouble and just watch the superior Clint Eastwood movie, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979).

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