Birdman of Alcatraz

1962

Action / Biography / Crime / Drama

35
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 84%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 17004

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 06, 2016 at 11:19 PM

Cast

James Westerfield as Jess Younger
Thelma Ritter as Elizabeth Stroud
Neville Brand as Bull Ransom
Betty Field as Stella Johnson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.04 GB
1204*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 27 min
P/S counting...
2.23 GB
1792*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 27 min
P/S 0 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by markcarlson2222 8 / 10

Not true, but compelling

I've always loved this film. It's moving, emotional, stirring, and poetic. It's even capable of generating great empathy with a man who we'd all prefer not to marry our daughters. Stroud, portrayed by Lancaster, is slowly pulled from a life of solitude, misery, hatred and violence by his love of birds. He becomes someone we can identify with, to care about, to wish he was free.

But...and I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Hollywood doesn't always get it right. Yeah, really. The movie is fiction from start to finish. Tom Gaddis' book was wonderful I actually bought a copy at the Alcatraz gift shop years ago and read it eagerly. I believed I had the true story of Stroud. And believed it for years. Until I read 'Birdman: The Many Faces of Robert Stroud' by Jolene Babyak. What a change. When I confirmed the book's accounts from other sources. I was stunned that we'd been so duped by the book and movie.

So there's a lot more to Stroud than Lancaster's gentle giant. He was a vicious psychopath who had killed twice, and wanted to kill more. He wasn't in solitary because of some misprint in his execution order. He was kept in solitary because he was too dangerous to keep with the regular prison population. He was also a savage homosexual rapist who wrote child pornography and had absolutely no regrets about it. When he was up for parole, he openly stated he wanted to get out before he was too old, because 'there were some people who needed killing.' His birdwork, too, was a fabrication. it's been proved now that most of Stroud's writings were plagiarized from other bird books, and even his remedies were nearly as dangerous as they were healing. He got lucky on some, that's all. No reputable bird breeder uses his remedies today. Stroud was alive when the movie was made. He'd smuggled bits and pieces of his 'autobiography,' heavily slanted in his favor, to Tom Gaddis, his own little gullible ghostwriter. And then it hit the big screen. The story generated piles of mail pleading for Stroud's release. He must have smiled at that, if he knew. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons knew what it was doing keeping Stroud in captivity. He was dangerous and would have probably killed even as an old man. He died the day before JFK was shot. I have an old San Jose Mercury News, from November 23, 1963 which on the fhird page has a small article entitled: "Autopsy Performed on Birdman Stroud.' His death in Springfield would have been front-page news but for the JFK Assassination. Actually, a tiny blurb is all he deserved. Have I seen the movie since I read the truth? Sure, but now I watch it for the acting, the cinematography, the drama, not the fiction. It is a great movie, and even Academy Award material. Frankenheimer's direction is superb, with a wonderful score and high accuracy in what life in prison was like in the early half of the last century. Lancaster, Malden, Brand, even a young Telly Savalas did a masterful job. The only thing I'd add is I wonder what the producers who decided to tell this story in such a favorable light, including the writers would have thought if Stroud had been paroled, and then started killing again. I wonder.

For the film, I give it an 8/10. For a work of fiction, a 10/10.

Reviewed by innis57 9 / 10

Excellent uplifting film in utterly depressing surroundings

Always like Burt Lancaster's acting/entertainment ability, and he doesn't disappoint in "Birdman". I found this movie, whatever it's historical faults notwithstanding, to be an uplifting experience due to the characters ability to rise above the incredibly depressing circumstances of his existence. And, a sad commentary on societies inability to rehabilitate as in "To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.", those who stray from the straight and narrow. When men are treated with respect, or as animals, they usually respond in kind. Karl Malden's warden character summarized societies treatment of inmates. Whether using carrots or sticks, the end goal was conformity and submission, with true rehabilitation an incidental byproduct should it occur at all. There is little wasted footage in this film, the "quiet" periods mentioned in earlier comments, add to the realism. Think about it, here's a man who spent nearly 50 years of his life in solitary confinement, to do true justice, a silent film would have been more appropriate! Stroud was spared the death penalty by President Wilson, due to his mothers pleading on his behalf. I can't imagine the occupier of the White House today doing anything but smirk at such a request. Not a political statement, just a point of fact. Another point, this film was made while Stroud was still in prison, which he never viewed, and which failed to earn him his release before his death in 1963. Lancaster also played a convict in "Brute Force", one of his earliest films, and a good one.

Reviewed by DonAlberto 8 / 10

Imagination has no limit

I've just watched the picture Birdman of Alcatraz. It is, without a doubt, one of the best films ever made about the so-called "prison genre". Yet, it is odd if we think carefully about it that this landmark films isn't about somebody or a group of inmates that come up with a plan to try to escape from prison. Quite the opposite, in fact. The overriding theme is one of finding liberty withing a prison, behind bars. Do you think it a contradiction, a futile dream?. Robert Straud thinks otherwise. Although he started off like any other inmate in prison, that is, letting out his anger whenever he felt like it, shouting at wardens, being consumed by anger, trying in vain to ward off its inevitable and mighty blow; he slowly turns into somebody else. And what sparks this U-turn is not another human being but an animal: a bird. To a little sparrow he can relate, surrender, feel a human being again. It is not often that we get to see poetry woven into a film, but I strongly believe this is one of those occasions (Ikiru, The 7 samurai or the Hustler spring to mind)

Come to think of it, it is all the more remarkable that Burt Lancaster managed to pull off such a astonishing performance without having too much dialogue.

I'd like to sing off on an optimistic note by saying our imagination has no limits and never will1.

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