“Escape From Alcatraz” — Movies On The Block

escape from alcatraz (7.19) This week’s installment of Movies on the Block is a 1979 prison escape thriller starring Clint Eastwood and Patrick McGoohan. “Escape From Alcatraz” is based on actual events — three men did escape in 1960 and neither they nor their bodies have ever been discovered. The movie was favorably reviewed in the New York Times,

As [director, Don] Siegel and his screenwriter have not provided their characters with lengthy case histories, they have also refrained from imposing on the film hints of larger meanings. The meanings are there if you want to search, but they aren’t spelled out as if to justify the existence of the film.

In a couple of brief sequences, “Escape From Alcatraz” looks as if it were going to succumb to sentiment, but mostly it’s tough in the way that Sam Peckinpah’s films once were, before he began to take himself so seriously. I should also add that it’s terrifically exciting.

Rated PG, running time 112 minutes. (Alcatraz Island is now a tourist destination — bring the kiddies!)

Free, starts at dusk, Thursday, July 19, Grant’s Block, Westminster at Union Streets, (directions)

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