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Crashout Movie Review

quinn william gene duff

If you want to make sure your script gets made right, produce it yourself: Hal E. Chester's tough, uncompromising drama of six convicts attempting a prison Crashout is dominated by the no-holds-barred performance of William Bendix as Van Duff, a badly wounded con. Duff has wild dreams of buried wealth, which he says he'll split with the other five if they'll do something about his wound and help him get to his stash. It's a dream ignited by feverish desperation and shared by Joe Quinn (Arthur Kennedy), Pete Mendoza (Luther Adler), Monk Collins (Gene Evans), Billy Lang (Marshall Thompson), and a religious fanatic named Swaner Remsen (William Talman). If you only know Talman from his work as Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason, you'll be mesmerized by his superb change-of-pace performance here. Quinn, the sanest of the bunch, seeks help from Alice Mosher (Beverly Michaels). For a few tense moments, the illusion of another life seems possible, but the psychodrama of Quinn's fellow inmates dominates the running time, as it must. The stark plight of the six men gives a timeless, existential quality to Crashout. If the big wigs ever decide to remake it with huge stars, they'll wreck it. Duff, Quinn, Mendoza, Remsen, Collins, and Lang could be anyone. The fact that these guys are among society's wretched and that they bring out the worst in each other is rendered more effective by the small, realistic details of the production. Twenty-one-year-old Melinda Markey, daughter of Joan Bennett and Gene Markey, plays a girl in the bar, Gloria Talbot plays a girl on a train, Morris Ankrum is the head guard, and wonderful little Percy Helton is Doctor Barnes.

1955 88m/B William Bendix, Gene Evans, Arthur Kennedy, Luther Adler, William Talman, Marshall Thompson, Beverly Michaels, Gloria Talbot, Adam Williams, Percy Helton, Melinda Markey, Morris Ankrum; D: Lewis R. Foster; W: Hal E. Chester; C: Russell Metty; M: Leith Stevens. VHS

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