Escape From Alcatraz

Director: Don Siegel
Year Released: 1979
Rating: 2.0

A criminal with a high I.Q. (Clint Eastwood, stereotypically non-verbose) concocts a devious plan to break out of the now-defunct, then-notorious federal prison in San Francisco Bay with cardboard, hair and sharp spoons (among other bits and pieces swiped here and there). It lacks the psychological and philosophical probing of the best prison movies - the closest it gets is with a bitter librarian character named English (nicely played by Paul Benjamin) - and basically acts as a functional but uninspired recreation of the actual events that got the real-life Frank Morris & Co. out of their cells and into the sea. The details are intriguing, naturally, but the flatness of the movie is an issue - even the villains (the anti-hope, anti-art Warden, the crazed inmate that wants to make Eastwood his bitch) lack pizzazz.