16 January, 2006

Murder In the First

Yesterday Sunday at the end of a nearly boring day of Cleaning the room, Ironing the clothes and a few seconds at the
Speakers Forum at the Indian YMCA myself and another friend decided to watch a movie as weh ad slpet in the evening and not feeling Sleepy. Watched East is East with all the tickle tackes and the Desi english by Om puri and all the Bloody Bastards spewing out of his mouth.

Later we decided to watch a Movie called the Murder At the First - A movie based on the tortures committed at Alcatraz in the name of Justice By none other than the Americans.... This is the second movie I was watching about Alcatraz after Escape from Alcatraz.

So what is Alcatraz?
This is High Security Prison that overlooks the sea and is a High Security Prison for everyone right from Hardened Criminals to Petty Criminals. The Hole or the Dungeon is a place where a person is to be kept in Solitary Confinement with no Light, no sanitation, no windows and worst of all no one comes to speak to you and no clothes.

A history Of the Alcatraz can be read here.

The Picture On the right shows a Aerial Snapshot of Alcatraz

Murder In the First

Murder in the First is a story about one of the most infamous prisons in the world, Alcatraz, and a statement about the
American system of justice. The idea that criminals who commit horrific crimes should be locked up and forgotten is
appealing, but people who propound such ideas usually do not allow for error. This movie, starring Christian Slater as
a young lawyer, and Kevin Bacon as the innocent who survives the ravages of the justice system, serves as a reminder that power corrupts, and that no justice system is perfect.

This shocking prison drama was inspired by a true story. In 1938, Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), sentenced to Alcatraz for stealing $5, attempted to escape from prison with three other prisoners. One of the escapees was captured, and to curry favor with Warden Glenn (Gary Oldman), he informed on the others. Young was soon brought back to custody, and was to be punished by spending 19 days in solitary confinement. Nineteen days stretched into three years, in which Young was kept in a pit with no light, no toilet, no furniture, and nothing to read. Young emerged from solitary a vengeful madman, and he quickly murdered the convict who turned him in. Young was put on trial for the killing, and assigned a first-time public defender, James Stamphill (Christian Slater). Stamphill was horrified by Young's tales of the conditions at Alcatraz, and he used them as the basis of his defense for his client, believing that anyone would be driven to madness and murder if they had been treated the same way as Young. Murder in the First also features Embeth Davidtz, William H. Macy, Brad Dourif, and R. Lee Ermey.

The performances are all superb. Christian Slater plays the role of the freshman lawyer well, and Kevin Bacon's Henri Young portrayal of a prisoner on the verge of insanity is brilliantly convincing. Milton Glenn (Gary Oldman) is ruthless and cruel as Alcatraz's Associate Warden. There is enough drama in the movie to keep the audience from getting bored, even though there is little action. I think a bit more time could've been spent exploring how the post-Depression post-Prohibition era mentality among the American people allowed such an institution to exist.

The most powerful moment of the film comes when the Warden of the prison (Stefan Gierasch), who is nothing more than a paper pusher, is on the witness stand and keeps repeating "he tried to escape" to justify the human rights violations of the inmate. I firmly believe that there is no crime that justifies punishment that could potentially penalise a single person not deserving of that punishment.

After the Final escape which was made into a movie called Escape From Alcatraz the Prison was closed down and then converted into a Tourist Attraction. To know more Click Here

Best Actor (win) - Kevin Bacon - 1995 Broadcast Film Critics Association
Best Supporting Actor (nom) - Kevin Bacon - 1995 Screen Actors Guild

Stir (1980, Stephen Wallace)
Ghosts... of the Civil Dead (1998, John Hillcoat)
Justice Denied (1989, Paul Cowan)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont)
The Interrogation of Michael Crowe (2002, Don Mc Brearty)
Convicted (2004, Bille August)
Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954, Don Siegel)
Brubaker (1980, Stuart Rosenberg)
Chattahoochee (1989, Mick Jackson)

Lock Up (1989, John Flynn)
Reversal of Fortune (1990, Barbet Schroeder)

Top 4 Alcatraz Movies
Since the beginning of the movie industry, Alctraz has been the subject of many movies. These are the most popular.
1) The Rock (1996) - A reluctant chemist and an ex-Bristish secret agent lead the counterstrike when soldiers threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz against San Francisco.
2) Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) - This is the most highly rated of all the Alcatraz movies. Loosely based on the life of Robert Stroud.
3) Escape from Alcatraz (1979) - The story of Frank Morris and his escape. Stars Clint Eastwood.
4) Murder in the First (1995) - Inspired by a true story. Henry stays in confinemnent for years, loses his sanity and commits murder. The story follows a rookie lawyer who contends that Alcatraz was to blame.

All in all Its a wonderful movie to watch with really good performances by esp. Kevin Bacon as Henri Young.


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