Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Big House (1930)

A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:
Best Picture
Best Actor: Wallace Beery
Best Writing (WINNER)
Best Sound (WINNER)

The reason I saw this film was because it was recommended to me ;) and these days I seem to be in the mood for 1930s & 40s. And, of course, because it has a couple of Oscar nominations. The point is: I can't share the enthusiasm on it, because it IS terribly dated and there are moments where it sounded too scripted and fake. The problem is in the screenplay, which fails (except for the Robert Montgomery one) in developing believable characters. Why would x, y, z have done that?! Plenty of such questions crossed my mind. :)

The ending is fine, except for defying logic a couple of times and that silly last scene. The acting is mostly OK: I dislike Wallace Beery because of his personal life, but he gives a good performance here. The star of the film is Chester Morris: his performance is memorable and he is terribly charismatic. 

My rating for the film: 6/10. I just didn't enjoy it as much, and felt too dated to reward higher.

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