Written by / 6/23/2016 / No comments / , , , ,

BURT LANCASTER IN BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ

Twilight Time Blu Ray YEAR: 1962
It's impossible to know the truth, the real truth, about something, or in this case, someone who gained fame from accomplishing something pretty amazing. That being Robert Stroud, given the name THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, which was more of a legendary status. On the infamous island fortress, he was already known and famous for what he did in Leavenworth, given free reign to work with birds since he was downright violent around people. Meanwhile, in Alcatraz, he had nothing to do with those feathery friends at all... His reputation proceeded him, and Alcatraz is a much edgier nickname than where he truly broke ground: A more lenient prison that, thankfully, the warden (or actually, several wardens) permitted this strange, desperate lone wolf, in prison for murdering a man who supposedly beat up one of his "girls," be able to keep a good number of birds inside his isolation cell. Much of the film, directed in a beautifully contained and hypnotic manner by John Frankenheimer, shows Stroud during the good times and bad, the birds he raised eventually dying from unnamed illnesses; one he eventually cures them of, which is what made Stroud famous – a violent man with a "third grade education" was able to find a vaccine to save birds – first his own, a mere microcosm for the world, including farm chickens and... Anyhow, when it came to his studies, Stroud, the BIRDMAN OF LEAVENWORTH, was more than an expert: He was a guru and a genius. And that brooding aura is captured nicely by Burt Lancaster in the first two acts in Leavenworth where he's treated like a king, befriended by guard Neville Brand in a surprisingly passive role, and an endearing lunatic in the cell-next-door played by Telly Savalas, who was able to have his own winged pet. But being more than pets to Stroud, Lancaster, with his expressions alone and no dialogue at all, captures the love one man had for a species, other than his own!

Movie Rating: ***
Alas, the third act, taking place in Alcatraz, is rushed and... well... Here's where Hollywood does a complete historic makeover. Stroud is shown as being too passive and gentle, and supposedly, he only fought in defense. Much of the finale includes an attempted breakout of six prisoners that was, for cinema's sake, turned into an all-out riot having to do with bad prison conditions: just so Stroud could make a idealistic speech in the wake. Like the New Testament is to the Old, partaking in wise words over previous actions, is basically how things wind up... Yet the fact, even at an old age, NO ONE allowed him to go free isn't quite clear. He died in another prison, although much more happily than if he remained in Alcatraz... So there must be a reason for this... something that we never experience or learn in the movie, or even catch a glimpse of. And it must be noted that this movie, like COMPULSION did for one of the two famous former-teen murderers, was made with an agenda other than entertainment: to help free the subject at hand, in that case, a sympathetic turn by Dean Stockwell against Bradford Dillman's more instigative menace. Lancaster, in playing this part, was pushing for Stroud's release, and what could have provided a much more intense performance is held back during the soft 11th hour. A more violent, scathing undertone would have given the performance more edge, all the way through. It's obvious Stroud, even at an old age, couldn't be trusted on the outside; and unlike ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, they couldn't blame everything on one vicious warden: Throughout his entire prison life, there were many wardens. And even more prisoners. Several who remember a guy that was, away from his birds and amongst the human zoo, more of a Chicken Hawk than Bluejay. Now THAT would have been a performance! 
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

GENE TIERNEY & DANA ANDREWS IN OTTO PREMINGER'S 'LAURA'

Nothing like a spoiler built into a poster for LAURA Year: 1944 Dana Andrews as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson has fallen in love with a ghost...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

FOR TELEVISION REVIEWS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "Been to L.A. and I've been to Mexico. And I've been laid." Charles Bronson to Al Lettieri, Mr. Majestyk

Blog Archive

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR
"I certainly admire people who do things."

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

MOVIES 1)THE FEARMAKERS 2)JAWS 3)THE CROWDED SKY 4)HOT CARS 5)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD 10)SHARKS' TREASURE 11)AIR PATROL 12)CURSE OF THE DEMON 13)HARDCORE 14)EASY LIVING 15)WICHITA 16)SWEENEY TWO 17)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 18)WHITE HEAT 19)FALLEN ANGEL 20)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 21)SMOKESCREEN 22)AL CAPONE 23)THE SERGEANT 24)THE DEFECTOR 25)CANYON RIVER 26)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 27)THE BEST OF EVERYTHING 28)THE HEARSE 29)MADISON AVENUE 30)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)ORSON WELLES 5)JACK NICHOLSON 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)STEVE COCHRAN DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)MAURY DEXTER 7)JOHN GUILLERMIN 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)FAYE DUNAWAY 3)SUE LYON 4)GENE TIERNEY 5)MERRY ANDERS GREATEST FILMS 1)THE GODFATHER PART II 2)LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 3)THE GODFATHER 4)CHINATOWN 5)GOODFELLAS

SCIENCE-FICTION STUFF

Popular This Month

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE
Open the door to DANA ANDREWS Cinema

DANA ANDREWS FACEBOOK

BLOGS OF INTEREST

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

SOARING TO THE EIGHTIES

STARING INTO THE SIXTIES

STARING INTO THE SIXTIES
Wisdom. Inspiration. Wrestling Instruction.

All Time Popular

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

TALES AND REFLECTIONS
"Really cool and a lot of class." Yaphet Kotto

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE