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Escape from Alcatraz

In 1979, five years after Director Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood hit box office gold with "Dirty Harry", they teamed up again for the terrific thriller ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ.

Eastwood stars as Frank Morris, a recent arrival at the famed San Francisco Maximum security prison surrounded by a whole lot of rough water.

Morris is there because he's robbed some banks and more importantly, he's escaped just about every other prison he's been in. Teaming up with two brothers (Fred Ward of "Remo WIlliams" and Jack Thibeua of "Apocalypse Now") Morris almost immediately begins planning his breakout.

The film takes its time, but is never boring as it details daily life in the prison. Friendships are made, enemies square off, but Morris never loses sight of his goal to escape.

Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner, Ice Station Zebra) is terrific as the no nonsense Warden.

It's all about Clint and he's solid from beginning to end, intimidating in stature and establishing himself as a formidable presence within the walls of Alcatraz.

With a bit of the flair of "The Great Escape", Siegel and screenwriter Richard Tuggle (Tightrope) structure an exciting, suspenseful last hour as the escape is planned, rehearsed and then executed.

Filmed on location at Alcatraz, the photography by Bruce Surtees (Firefox, The Outlaw Josey Wales) is terrific and the editing by Ferris Webster (Ice Station Zebra, The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven) is crisp.

Based on the true story of Morris's escape, its a carefully detailed, entertaining visit to the Rock that's one of Eastwood's best. This was the first time that Eastwood made a movie for Paramount Studios since 1969. After the debacle starring in their musical "Paint Your Wagon", he swore he'd never work for them again.

I'm glad he went back!


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