CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"Big House USA" would inspire a fine Quentin Taratino remake

"Big House USA" opens with the leading man Jerry Barker (Ralph Meeker) taking advantage of a sick child.  Bad things happen and Barker, a.k,a. the Iceman, ends up in jail with the likes of Broderick Crawford, Lon Chaney Jr. & Charles Bronson.

"Big House USA" works when this Rogue's Gallery is on camera.  The interaction between Crawford, Meeker, Chaney & Bronson is authentic, dark with gallows humor.   There are moments of sadism involving blow torches & betrayal, rare for 1955, 

The fllm falters when conforming to 1955 conventions;
 the confusing Elliot Ness imitation voice over,
the pat "crime does not pay"  conclusion
and the over the top dramatic musical score.

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