Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Birdman of Alcatraz

The best known movie of director John Frankenheimer is the Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate. He had another movie released the same year.

As an inmate at Leavenworth prison, Robert Stroud (Burt Lancaster) has a series of confrontations with the guards and other convicts. After Stroud kills a guard, he is sentenced to life in solitary confinement. He develops an  deep interest in caring for birds after finding one in the exercise yard, which gives him a new purpose in life.

Although very good, Birdman of Alcatraz got some of the facts wrong. For example, the real Robert Stroud was the complete opposite of Lancaster's portrayal. The facts get mixed with Hollywood fabrication even more towards the last hour of Birdman of Alcatraz. But moving away from the inaccuracies, Birdman of Alcatraz, like I said before, is very good. Lancaster gives one of his best performances (though I consider his overall best performance is in Sweet Smell of Success). Frankenheimer directs a tale of redemption and human nature.

My Rating: ****1/2

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