AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Alternate Title: One Way Out
Director: Henry Levin (Dir)
Release Date:   Aug 1950
Production Date:   12 Dec 1949--19 Jan 1950
Duration (in mins):   89 or 91
Duration (in feet):   8,168
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Cast:   Glenn Ford (Joe Hufford)  
    Broderick Crawford (George Knowland)  
    Millard Mitchell (Malloby)  
    Dorothy Malone (Kay Knowland)  
    Carl Benton Reid (Captain Douglas)  
    Frank Faylen (Ponti)  
    Will Geer (Mapes)  
    Martha Stewart (Bertie Williams, also known as Yvonne Adair)  
    Henry O'Neill (Detective Dorn)  
    Douglas Kennedy (Detective Baley)  
    Roland Winters (Vernon Bradley)  
    Ed Begley (MacKay)  
    Frank Cady (Eddie)  
    John Doucette (Tex)  
    Ilka Gruning (Martha Lorry)  
    John A. Butler (Curley)  
    Peter Virgo (Luigi)  
    Whit Bissell (Owens)  
    Fred Sears (Fingerprint man)  
    Fred Graham (Guard)  
    Eddie Parker (Guard)  
    James Millican (Guard)  
    Ray Teal (Guard)  
    Robert Malcolm (Guard)  
    James Bush (Guard)  
    Bill Tannen (Guard)  
    Clancy Cooper (Guard)  
    William E. Green (Dr. Masterson)  
    Charles Cane (Sergeant)  
    Griff Barnett (Mr. Hufford)  
    William Vedder (Whitey, convict)  
    Alphonse Martell (Melreau)  
    Harry Harvey (Parole man)  
    Marshall Bradford (Parole man)  
    Bradford Hatton (Parole man)  
    Jimmie Dodd (Grant)  
    Benny Burt (Blackie)  
    Thomas Kingston (Conductor)  
    Jay Barney (Nick)  
    Wilton Graff (Dr. Agar)  
    Vincent Renno (Freddie)  
    Harry Cording (Brick)  
    Richard Hale (Judge)  
    Chuck Hamilton (Policeman)  
    Charles Sherlock (Policeman)  

Summary: After a fight in a nightclub ends with the death of a prominent politician's son, Joe Hufford is arrested and charged with murder. Although the district attorney, George Knowland, advises Joe to hire a good criminal lawyer, Joe decides to stick with Vernon Bradley, the corporation lawyer sent by his employer. Knowland, who believes the death to be accidental, suggests that Bradley have Joe plead guilty to manslaughter. Bradley refuses and, after the case goes to trial, the lawyer's lack of experience in criminal law results in a guilty verdict for Joe, who is sent to prison. After six months, Joe joins a group of prisoners who are planning an escape. Joe's cellmate, Malloby, warns him that Ponti, one of the prisoners involved in the plan, had betrayed other convicts during an earlier attempt. Nonetheless, Joe is determined to escape to visit his ailing father. Before the escape, Joe learns that his father has died, and frustrated, starts a fight with a guard. Joe is sentenced to solitary confinement and thus misses the escape. As Malloby had predicted, Ponti reveals the escape plans to the prison authorities, and all the escapees are killed. Meanwhile, Knowland is given the job of prison warden. Ponti demands that Knowland save him from the angry convicts and release him from prison as Captain Douglas, the brutal head guard, had promised. Knowland agrees only to transfer him to another prison, and until that is possible, offers him a room in the warden's quarters. Knowland also takes an interest in Joe's case and has him transferred from the prison laundry to a position as his chauffeur. At Knowland's suggestion, his daughter Kay befriends Joe and tries to restore his dignity. Meanwhile, Malloby and some of the other convicts plot to kill Ponti. Malloby, who works as Knowland's butler, is to carry out the killing, but insists that Joe should not be involved. By accident, however, Joe is waiting for the warden in his office and sees Malloby leave the scene of the murder. When Joe will not reveal the name of the killer, Knowland warns him that he will be accused of the crime. Despite this threat, Joe continues to keep silent, and Knowland sends him to solitary confinement. After Joe is slipped a knife with which to kill Douglas, Malloby contrives to be sent to solitary and then uses the knife to kill Douglas in retaliation for returning him to prison for a minor parole violation. Before he is gunned down by the guards, Malloby confesses to Ponti's murder. Shortly after that, Joe is paroled and receives Knowland's permission to call on Kay after he finds employment. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Henry Levin (Dir)
  Frederick Briskin (Asst dir)
Producer: Jerry Bresler (Prod)
Writer: William Bowers (Scr)
  Fred Niblo Jr. (Scr)
  Seton I. Miller (Scr)
Photography: Burnett Guffey (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Carl Anderson (Art dir)
Film Editor: Al Clark (Film ed)
Set Decoration: James Crowe (Set dec)
Music: George Duning (Mus score)
  Morris Stoloff (Mus dir)
Sound: Lodge Cunningham (Sd eng)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the play The Criminal Code by Martin Flavin (New York, 2 Oct 1929).
Authors: Martin Flavin

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 25/7/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP226

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Prison
Subjects (Major): Betrayal
  Prison life
  Prison wardens
Subjects (Minor): Accidental death
  District attorneys
  Fathers and daughters
  Fathers and sons
  Prison escapes
  Prison guards
  Prison trustees

Note: The film's working title was One Way Out . Martin Flavin's play was the basis for two earlier Columbia films. In 1931, Howard Hawks directed The Criminal Code , which starred Walter Huston. Penitentiary , released in 1938, was directed by John Brahm and starred Walter Connolly (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0876 and F3.3412). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   22 Jul 1950.   
Daily Variety   26 Jul 50   p. 3.
Film Daily   31 Jul 50   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jul 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   29 Jul 50   p. 405.
Variety   26 Jul 50   p. 10.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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