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ROBERT BLAKE AND TIMOTHY CAREY 'REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE'

Title: REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE Year: 1958 Rating: ****

In most prison flicks, whenever a convict returns from solitary confinement... a week or longer in almost pitch dark... they'd emerge like from a well-lit office, maybe a little more tired, ragged...

But Robert Blake in the low-budget b-crimer REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE has an extremely jaded expression, rubbing his eyes while suffering the proverbial devil's hangover, back into the flow of prisoners that includes our main star, Gene Evans, as a once-powerful headline-making mobster, now doing twenty years to life...

Robert Blake exits solitaire in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE

Blake's Mexican twenty-something Rudy Hernandez is his cellmate, initially providing a monologue summing up his entire wrong-side-of-the-streets existence in an overlong six minutes... and every minute counts in what's a programmer/exploitation, practically a remake of Don Siegel's RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11...

Both have Emile Meyer as an open-minded warden, and while that's a far superior picture, REVOLT intentionally packs more of a violent wallop, including chief guard Walter Barnes... a composite of all guards... who can't stop bullying Blake... in fact he's the reason the poor kind wound up in solitaire... 

Robert Blake and Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE

The best scenes occur during the first half as Gene Evan's Lou Gannon plays it mellow and slow-burn, getting a soft job and, within the main interior set of gathered prisoners (contrasting to random grainy real-life stock footage of a real prison), he subtly collects willing criminals for the second half's anticipated and thus inevitable titular REVOLT aka attempted breakout...

And once again, Timothy Carey is the scene-stealer, about thirty-pounds too heavy for an agile and cunning heavy yet his signature gritting teeth and firebrand temper is always fun, helping to turn this BIG HOUSE into a neat ensemble of character-driven scenes that, as a whole, smoothly passes the time without feeling like doing time.

Robert Blake and Gene Evans in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Robert Blake and Walter Barnes in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Gene Evans and Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Robert Blake and Gene Evans in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Robert Blake in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Robert Blake in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Robert Blake in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE with Walter Barnes
Robert Blake in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Emile Meyer and Walter Barnes in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Tim Carey and Gene Evans in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Arline Hunter in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Titles for REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE with Gene Evans
Timothy Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Handsome revision of Tim Carey in REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE
Big House actors Timothy Carey & Robert Blake reunited 20-years later in the BARETTA pilot

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