Uncompromising, Brutal Film is Powerful and Shocking
Brian Ridgway | Grand Rapids, MI | 10/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Man, after 30 years, this film still retains the power to shock and unsettle viewers. It's amazing to think that this was even televised back in the early 1970's, when most of t.v. was variety shows and comedy. This is a powerful film, telling the story of a college professor (Alan Alda) who is sent to a maximum security prison for accidentally killing a man in self defense. The horrors that await Alda are numbing, from gang attacks, rapes and stabbings, to indifferent guards and physcotic inmates. This is one of the fineset performances Alda has ever given, and the gritty, on-location shots and use of real prisoners gives it an all-too real atmosphere. If you enjoy terrific character studies, coupled with grim reality and a shocking, unpredictable story, this is the film for you. 'Glass House' is also probably one of the best 'prison' movies ever made, and certainly an intelligent indictment on the human condition. I saw this on it's original 1970's airing when I was a kid. Maybe it 'scared me straight' and help me stay on the straight and narrow. If so, I commend it's power. And after all these years, it still entertains and is as good as any contemporary drama."
Depressing and disturbing!!!
Raul Vasquez | Chicago, IL | 01/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The TV movie adaptation of Truman Capote's novel brings the horrific realities of prison life like no other film does. The movie addresses the various hardships that an individual can face while doing time in prison. The hardships can stem from being exposed to a tight brutal gang network within or from a corrupt correctional system. The movie is in essence seen through the eyes of rookie correctional officer Brian (Clu Gulager). Brian is at first enthusiastic about his new job as a prison guard. It however does not take long before he becomes disillusioned with the police corruption he witnesses. The movie itself however centers on two new inmates, Jonathan Paige (Alan Alda) a college professor convicted of manslaughter and Allan Campbell, a young teenager arrested for drugs. Jonathan and Allan quickly become friends despite their different backgrounds. Unfortunately Allan also befriends Hugo Slocum (Vic Morrow) the prison gang leader who has in fact taken a physical liking toward him. In the meantime, Jonathan accepts a position as a pharmacist and meets Lennox (Billy Dee Williams), a black idealist. It is in the pharmacy that Jonathan first collides with Hugo by refusing to become a fellow supplier in the drug trafficking business. Jonathan further draws Hugo's ire when he begins to protest Hugo's advances on Allan. The building tension between Jonathan and Hugo is such that both Lennox and Brian notice and become involved in their own way. It is only a matter of time before Jonathan decides that he has no alternative but to have a deadly confrontation with Hugo.
The movie as a whole is very grim and unsettling. There is at least one rape and one suicide scene in addition to the various gang hit killings throughout the movie. It is a movie well worth watching although some viewers may find it to be depressing and disturbing.
In a bizarre coincidence, there is a scene in which Vic Morrow's character states that he can get anything he wants in the prison except for a helicopter and a woman. It is a tragic irony that 10 years later, a helicopter propeller would kill Vic Morrow while he simultaneously held a girl during the filming of the Twilight Zone the Movie.
The Glass House is as accurate a portrayal of prison life as can be put to film according to former inmates. Movies such as "The Shawshank Redemption" which are appealing and well known do not accurately or fully depict the harsh realities of the brutal interaction between the various sorts of prisoners. It is a pity that this movie is not better known. It is perhaps for this sad fact that "The Glass House" was only released on DVD for a limited time."
One of Alan Alda's best!
Jacqueline | usa | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must for any Alan Alda fan! This all-star cast depicts prison life as it is, unglamorous and violent. Great acting by Alan Alda who plays his ever-present role as a nice, softspoken, chronic do-gooder who is much too fragile for the tough, testosterone rich environment in which he is wrongly made to live. Alda faces threats to his physical as well as his mental health as he tries to addapt to his new and intimidating surroundings. (Destiny steps in to cast Billy Dee Williams as the inmate/pharmacist he was born to play) I love this movie for it's brutal honesty and it's uncommon unpredictability. It's not the movie you'll walk away from with a warm and fuzzy little feeling in your heart, but it'll definately grab your attention and force you to completely enjoy every minute of it. Alda is unquestionably the greatest actor who has ever lived!"
Jacqueline | 06/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is WOW...Good Job Alan Alda!! I recommend this to anyone wanting to have an understanding of prison...and yes this is realistic!!"
Grim and Real
L. Cabos | planet earth | 06/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing this made for TV movie when it was aired on CBS back in the day. It is a really compelling story with exceptional performances by Alan Alada, Clu Gulager (an actor I've always liked since I saw him in things THE KILLERS & THE VIRGINIAN TV series) but most especially the late Vic Morrow. He really shines as a thoroughly chilling monster, vicious and brutal. Everything builds to the final confrontation between his character and Alan Alda's. I remember it being a pretty brutal film but that was by the standards of 30 years ago."