|RIOT (director: Buzz Kulik; screenwriter: James Poe/novel "The Riot" by Frank Elli; cinematographer: Robert B. Hauser; editor: Edwin H. Bryant ; music: Krzysztof Komeda; cast: Jim Brown (Cully Briston), Gene Hackman (Red Fraker), Mike Kellin (Bugsy), Gerald S. O'Loughlin (Grossman), Ben Carruthers (Surefoot), Bill Walker (Jake), Jerry Thomson (Fisk), Frank E. Eyman (Warden), Clifford David (Mary); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: R; producer: William Castle; Olive Film (Paramount); 1969)|
entertainment value give me those Cagney prison
flicks any day."
by Dennis Schwartz
TV director Buzz Kulik ("The
Hunter"/"Villa Rides"/"To Find A Man") helms a decent
exploitation prison drama programmer, that was filmed
inside the Arizona State Prison with the real warden
(Frank E. Eyman) and the prisoners as extras. Ex-NFL
football star turned actor, Jim Brown, is solid.
is based on the novel "The Riot" by Frank
Elli, who served time in a Minnesota prison, and is
written by James Poe. The master of schlock producer
William Castle generated publicity by exploiting its
authenticity with a premiere in the prison where
Black prisoner Cully Briston (Jim Brown) has only a few months before his release, but has little choice but to help ringleader Red Fraker (Gene Hackman) make a break. While the warden is away, Red and 35 inmates take over the isolation wing and take the guards as hostages. Tension builds as the rioters are violently subdued by the police before they execute their escape plans. Their actions result in such horrors as a stark throat-slitting and revenge offenses from past grievances.
Mike Kellin is Hackman's
wisecracking sidekick. Ben Carrithers is the very
dangerous psycho inmate. Clifford David is
the queer drag queen.
bloody melodrama is well-made and for shock value
explores prison culture deeper than most Hollywood
prison dramas, but it lacks suspense, credible
characters and purpose. For entertainment value give
me those Cagney prison flicks any day.
REVIEWED ON 12/30/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ