6.7/10
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17 user 18 critic

Big House, U.S.A. (1955)

Jerry Barker finds a lost boy whose rich father is extorted into paying a ransom for his return but the boy accidentally dies and Jerry goes to prison.

Director:

Howard W. Koch

Writers:

John C. Higgins, George W. George (story) (as George George) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Broderick Crawford ... Rollo Lamar
Ralph Meeker ... Jerry Barker
Reed Hadley ... Special FBI Agent James Madden
William Talman ... William 'Machine Gun' Mason
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Alamo Smith (as Lon Chaney)
Charles Bronson ... Benny Kelly
Felicia Farr ... Emily Euridice Evans (as Randy Farr)
Roy Roberts ... Chief Ranger Will Erickson
Willis Bouchey ... Robertson Lambert (as Willis B. Bouchey)
Peter J. Votrian ... Danny Lambert (as Peter Votrian)
Robert Bray ... Ranger McCormick
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Storyline

When young Danny Lambert runs away from camp in south-central Colorado, he becomes the object of a park-wide-search by his wealthy father Robertson Lambert. He is found by Jerry Barker and told to wait at an abandoned look-out tower while he goes for help. Instead, Barker calls the father and demands $200,000 ransom. The money is delivered and Barker buries most of it. Meanwhile, the panicky boy has fallen from the tower to his death, and Barker drops the body off a cliff. The FBI, led by James Madden, capture Barker but can't convict him of kidnapping and he is given only five years for extortion and sent to Casabel Island Prison. There he is assigned a cell with Rollo Lambar, Alamo Smith, Benny Kelly and Machine Gun Mason. The FBI have now traced an affiliation between Barker and Emily Evans, a nurse at Danny's camp. The five cell-mates, led by Rollo, who plans to kill Benny and dress him in Barker's clothes to throw off the police, execute an underwater prison escape, and head ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

We're bustin' out of this tomb... And we don't care how many of you we have to kill! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1955 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Blutgeld See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even though Felicia Farr made her 'debut' in this film as Randy Farr, she would make her official 'debut' a year later in 'Jubal' as Felicia Farr. And once again co-starring Charles Bronson. In Big House USA, they did not have any scenes together but in Jubal they did. See more »

Goofs

When Dipsy dies in the outlet steam pipe accident (0:38:36) it's not clear how prison officials deal with his disappearance. See more »

Quotes

Rollo Lamar: I'm gonna kidnap a kidnapper for the money he kidnapped for.
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User Reviews

 
Bustin' out of the iron lung...
26 November 2006 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Unintentional riot about a stony-faced extortionist (Ralph Meeker) arrested and copping a plea bargain with the courts, ending up in an impenetrable prison. Meeker's link to the kidnapping/disappearance of a child makes him quite unpopular with his cell-mates (including Charles Bronson, pumped up and perusing muscle magazines); fortunately for Ralph, this cell-block gang--led by a wily but not quite brutish Broderick Crawford--already have a break-out plan in the works. Film features the kind of "sinister", super-grave voice-over narration later popularized on the "Dragnet" TV show. Reviewers point out how ahead of its time the brutality was, and it's true that one killing is a bit shocking. However the rest of the picture is so low-budget (and drowsily low-key) that one begins to laugh out of sheer restlessness. The frenzied finale picks up some of the slack, ending on a jaw-dropping note. ** from ****


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