This film received its television premiere in Los Angeles Monday 14 January 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11); it first aired in Philadelphia 5 March 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in New Haven CT 11 March 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Altoona PA 21 March 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Chicago 5 April 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Minneapolis 16 August 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9) and in Miami 20 August 1957 on WCKT (Channel 7); it was first shown in San Francisco 28 December 1958 on KGO-TV (Channel 7), but there is no record of its having been telecast in New York City until 22 February 1962 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
I'm intrigued that Paul Kelly and Tom Neal are both in the cast of '6000 Enemies'. Kelly and Neal both had prolific careers in tough-guy roles, but they are now remembered largely for the fact that, in real life, both of them (separately) did prison time for manslaughter. The fact that '6000 Enemies' is a prison movie lends an air of irony to Kelly's and Neal's presence in this film. As it happens, though, they have no scenes together.
'6000 Enemies' has a premise fairly similar to that of the Howard Hawks film 'The Criminal Code', but it takes that premise in a different direction. Steven Donegan (Walter Pidgeon) is a tough D.A. who has shown no mercy to the thousands of criminals he has sent to prison. Racketeer Joe Silenus (Harold Huber) frames Donegan on a bribery charge; for good measure, Silenus has also framed pretty Anne (Rita Johnson) on an embezzlement charge. Donegan has urged no mercy for convicted criminals, so now that he is (falsely) convicted he finds himself on the receiving end of the same tough sentencing policy. Donegan and Anne are sent to the respective his'n'her hoosegows, but it's clear they're going to end up as each other's ball-and-chain.
Disbarred D.A. Donegan finds himself doing hard time in a penitentiary where all the other convicts want to kill him. (Hence the film's title.) The scenes of prison life are even less realistic than usual for prison movies from this period. The movie climaxes with a prison break (I shan't tell you if it's successful), but at this point all credibility has long since gone over the wall. In a small role as a petty thug, Frank Lackteen briefly displays his famous cheekbones and swarthy complexion. Esther Dale gives her usual "I've seen it all, dearie" performance. I'm always glad to see Nat Pendleton, Grant Mitchell and Raymond Hatton, but their performances here are more lacklustre than usual for these fine character actors. Paul Kelly has very little to do here, and Tom Neal even less: the irony of their presence in this prison flick far outweighs their actual performances. I'll rate '6000 Enemies' only 3 points out of 10. Better make that 6,001 enemies...
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