Riot in Cell Block 11

Riot in Cell Block 11

DVD - 2014
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A sensational and high-octane but economically constructed drama set in a maximum-security penitentiary. Shot on location at Folsom State Prison, with real inmates and guards as extras
Publisher: United States : The Criterion Collection, 2014
ISBN: 9781604658323
Branch Call Number: DVD Riot
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 80 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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Dec 26, 2015

I think that in it's day this was a good movie, but it's day has passed.

Oct 01, 2015

Yes. 1954's "Riot In Cell Block 11" certainly had its fair share of flaws and weak moments - But, considering that it's now 60 years old and its budget was only $300,000, I'm quite willing to cut this prison picture some well-deserved slack.

Filmed in b&w at Folsom State Prison in California - The events that took place in "Riot In Cell Block 11" were apparently modelled after a real-life prison riot that happened in 1952 in Jackson, Michigan.

Keeping in mind the era in which this picture was filmed (the mid-1950's) - Don't be at all surprised by the complete lack of profanity when it comes to the cussing that takes place amongst all of the hard-edged, tough-as-nails prisoners. "Damn" and "Hell" are about as profane as it gets in this story.

With a running time of only 80 minutes - "Riot In Cell Block 11" moves along at a fairly brisk clip without getting itself bogged down with too many wasted moments. All you get here is a bare-bones prison drama, sans the fluff or excess icing on the cake.

In one way - 1954's "Riot In Cell Block 11" was kind of like watching a slice of Film Noir that goes to prison with no chance of parole - (Well, sort of) - Minus, of course, the femme fatale angle.

As far as prison pictures go - This gritty, low-budget, tough-guy tale (though mighty tame by today's standards) still packed a substantial wallop even without a non-stop barrage of profanity and bloodshed.

Filmed (in b&w) on location at Folsom State Prison, California - This particular picture is notable for being one of the first in its genre to have the disgruntled convicts manipulate the media in order to make their grievances about prison conditions known to the public.

Yes. This picture featured typical, prison stereotypes. And, yes, it contained its fair share of unintentional humour, as well - But, all the same - (With its fast-paced, 80-minute running time) - It was still well-worth a view.

"Riot In Cell Block 11" (which was produced on a $300,000 budget) was directed by Don Siegel, who would later go on to direct Clint Eastwood in 1971's Dirty Harry.

May 04, 2015

At times the writing seems very forced, like a propaganda film, and the music and characters are filled with cliches. I found most interesting the obsolescent slang words and phrases, and, give its reputed realism, found it astonishing that criminals from 60 years ago were more articulate than students of today.

Mar 19, 2015

A real gem from 1954 starring Neville Brand, a real American Army war hero in WWII, Leo Gordon, himself a criminal with a 5 year prison term, and Emile Meyer, a longtime heavy in films, "Riot in Cell Black 11" is a gritty, and up front, in your face film about not just a prison riot but an sort of early expose on prisons in general. Strange to say but I enjoyed it.

brendancarlson Jul 31, 2014

Well intentioned social commentary that fails in delivery.

aaa5756 Jul 27, 2014

Very well done movie. A pleasure to watch. I would recommend this movie for all to see. No fast forwarding on this one. No falling asleep on this DVD!!!!!

voisjoe1 Jul 13, 2014

Riot in Cell Block 11 is the story of a semi-violent, semi-non-violent prisoner protest riot over inhumane prison conditions. The film, fictional, nonetheless, was filmed in Folsom Prison and used several hundred actual prisoners. This is one of the best prison films ever made. The makers of the film slipped one past the Hays Code. They slyly made the California legislature the bad guys. A no-no. I give the producers a lot of credit as they showed racially integrated scenes with African-Americans playing realistic roles. This would have been a no-no for the southern states. I wonder if the South was even smart enough to realize that this might have been one of the first films to show significant racial integration. At the time, a significant percentage of Southerners actually believed that African-Americans were a sub-human species, separate from homo sapiens. It is difficult to believe that the film was shot in two and a half weeks.


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aaa5756 Jul 27, 2014

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” -Winston Churchill


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