13 user 7 critic

Canon City (1948)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 30 June 1948 (USA)
Twelve inmates plan a prison break from the Colorado State Penitentiary but one of them reluctantly joins the group.


Crane Wilbur


Crane Wilbur (original screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Brady ... Jim Sherbondy
Jeff Corey ... Carl Schwartzmiller
Whit Bissell ... Heilman
Stanley Clements ... New
Charles Russell ... Tolley
DeForest Kelley ... Smalley
Ralph Byrd ... Officer Gray
Mabel Paige ... Mrs. Oliver
Roy Best Roy Best ... Himself (as Warden Roy Best)
Henry Brandon ... Freeman
Alfred Linder Alfred Linder ... Lavergne
Robert Bice ... Morgan
Ray Bennett ... Willie Bennett
Robert Kellard ... Officer Winston R. Williams
Richard Irving Richard Irving ... George Hernandez


This movie centers around a prison escape from the Colorado State Penitentiary. There are 12 escapees and it shows the efforts placed to capture these men. Written by Gerald W. Riley

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


FILMED WITH THE NAKED FURY OF FACT! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 June 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blood on the Snow See more »


Box Office


$424,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryan Foy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The radio station shown broadcasting from Warden Best's office, KRLN, was and still is an actual station in Canon City, Colorado, broadcasting on 1400 AM (2016). See more »


Immediately after the prison break, there's a shot of a crowd of people leaving a movie theatre, with Abbott & Costello in The Noose Hangs High (another Eagle-Lion release) prominently displayed on the readerboard. Only problem is, the break took place 30 December 1947, and The Noose Hangs High wasn't released until the end of the following April. See more »


Referenced in Let's Go to the Movies (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

Without the occasional irrelevant narration, it would have been a bit better--though it was still awfully good.
29 January 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Canon City" is an interesting prison movie. It has a VERY unusual pedigree, as it was filmed at an actual prison and most of the inmates are real ones! Additionally, the story is true and was filmed in the actual locations where the events unfolded. This, along with the narration, give this a documentary feel much of the time. However, I really don't think the narration was even needed. But, I did like the strange way it was used at the beginning. Reed Hadley (who has a very unmistakable voice and starred in "Racket Squad") begins telling about the story and then introduces the Warden to the audience. Then, the warden begins talking with Hadley and it's all seen from Hadley's perspective--so when he walks about, so does the camera. Innovative but as the film progressed it just seemed a bit intrusive.

The story is about a mass prison break. The plot depended on a guy who initially had no interest in breaking out--Sherbondy (Scott Brady). However, they use extortion to force him into participating. While this did make the escape possible, the prisoners might have chosen better, as Sherbondy seemed to have a soul and several times prevented the escaped goons from committing atrocities. This and the family's reaction to this make the film rather interesting. I also thought it was interesting to see Jeff Corey playing such a nasty part, as it was a bit of a departure for him playing such a role.

This is not a great prison film--and there are a lot of them. But it is very good and its realism is quite a plus. Good acting and a lot of tension also helped.

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