Throwback Reviews


Aidan McFarland

For December, I indulged myself in some prison-related arts. For this month, I watched two prison films, which were Brute Force (1947) and The Great Escape (1963). I also listened to the well-known prison album, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash.

Starting off we have Brute Force, a film from 1947 starring the amazing Burt Lancaster as Joe Collins, a prisoner, along with his fellow inmates, who are under the surveillance of the callous guard, Captain Munsey, played by Hume Cronyn. I watched this film for the first time this month and I found it fantastic! For being made in 1946, this film feels ahead of its time. Though there may be some slower scenes, the scenes still have fierce, quick dialogue that keeps you in. I really enjoyed this film and I can’t wait to revisit it in the future.

Secondly, I watched The Great Escape, one of my favorite films of all-time. The Great Escape is about a P.O.W. camp in WWII, where a group of allied prisoners plan one of the most yearning escape attempts, which is based on a true story. This film has one of the greatest casts including Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn. This film is jam-packed with adventure, suspense, a terrific soundtrack, a macho cast, and even more for all to enjoy!

Finally, we have Johnny Cash’s legendary live album, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. This was the first live album to be recorded in a prison and is why it has become such a famous album. This is a solid album with songs like “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Jackson” and is a good place to start if you want to experience Johnny Cash.