THE SECRET OF CONVICT LAKE (director: Michael Gordon; screenwriters: Victor Trivas/Oscar Saul/story by Anna Hunger & Jack Pollexfen; cinematographer: Leo Tover; editor: James B. Clark; music: Sol Kaplan; cast:  Glenn Ford (Jim Canfield), Ethel Barrymore (Granny), Gene Tierney (Marcia Stoddard), Zachary Scott (Johnny Greer), Ann Dvorak (Rachel),  Barbara Bates (Barbara Purcell), Cyril Cusack (Edward "Limey" Cockerell), Jack Lambert (Matt Anderson). Jeanette Nolan (Harriet Purcell), Ruth Donnelly (Mary), Ray Teal (Sheriff Bramwell); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Frank P. Rosenberg; 20th Century Fox Film; 1951)

"The predictable feel-good melodrama is watchable because of Ford and Tierney."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Michael Gordon ("Boys' Night Out"/"Pillow Talk"/"Cyrano de Bergerac") directs this prison escape film in a routine manner. The banal plot was taken by writers Victor Trivas and Oscar Saul from the slight story by Anna Hunger & Jack Pollexfen.

In September of 1871, convict Glenn Ford breaks out of a prison in Carson City, Nevada. While most get captured, Ford is one of six to reach the secluded silver mining town of Diablo Lake, in the snowy California Sierras, where the men are prospecting and only their women remain behind. The authorities wrongly believe the escapees froze to death in the mountains. Ford is the gentle criminal among a dangerous assortment of killers, rapists and thieves, who tries unsuccessfully to keep them in check. The five cons steal $40,000 in town before fleeing. Outside of town the cons run into the returning men prospectors and the cons are all killed in a bloody battle. The town forgives Ford, and he ends up marrying one of the Lake Diablo residents (Gene Tierney).

The predictable feel-good melodrama is watchable because of Ford and Tierney.   

REVIEWED ON 4/23/2016       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"