Picks and Pans Review: Escape from Alcatraz

updated 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In 1962 three men escaped from the island fortress that was this country's most notorious maximum security prison—thought, after 14 previous attempts had failed, to be escape-proof. This movie details the intricate planning for the break, masterminded by bank robber Frank Morris. (None of the three fugitives was ever found.) Directed again by Don (Dirty Harry) Siegel, Clint Eastwood does his silent stuff to perfection. As the seedy Morris, his mind moves behind his eyes, and there are enough prison dustups to give him a chance to flex his more physical talents. The cast of unknowns is excellent, notably Frank Ronzio, as a con with a pet mouse, and a white-hating librarian, Paul Benjamin. Patrick (The Prisoner) McGoohan, without his British accent, is the vindictive warden. But it is the escape plan that makes this a picture of old-fashioned, dark, tense excitement. (PG)

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