Great Depression-era Prison Film!!!
Nobody | Nowheresville | 06/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great depression prison era film starring Pat O'Brien and the featuring the then emerging movie legend Humphrey Bogart.It's a must see!!!"
Cliched Prison Drama
Douglas M | 08/13/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""San Quentin", a 1937 Warner Brothers programmer, is a cliched story set in an around the prison of the same name. Pat O'Brien plays an army officer assigned to the prison to establish discipline and reform using army methods. Barton Maclane plays the guard he replaces who resents him, Humphrey Bogart plays the small time hoodlum who "only needs a break" to reform and Ann Sheridan plays his sister who O'Brien falls for. Joe Sawyer plays the hardened criminal. All of the actors are typecast although Bogart's role is more sympathetic than usual at this time and accordingly offers him a bit more range. The film is fast moving in typical Warner's fashion but the script and direction are not sharp enough to arise above the cliches. The film's scenes of prison life are cursory with no real sense of desperation or monotony, so well depicted in better films like "20,000 Years in Sing Sing". The melodramatics of the routine plot bog the film down. This probably was the first film which gave Ann Sheridan a leg up the ladder and she introduces a good song "How Could You" in a nightclub scene. She has a warm contralto and puts the song over with great charm and personality.
The quality of the film print is first rate and the DVD comes with many extras including a documentary about the advent of the prison fim, a worthwhile commentary about the film itself, not that it really warrants it, an excellent Porky Pig cartoon satirising the gangster and a Warner Brother's blooper reel from 1937. The blooper reels are always interesting if you know your Warner's films.
If the DVD is purchased as part of the Warner's Tough Guy Collection, it is good value but otherwise, there are better films in this genre available."
Bogart in the Big House
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 08/19/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A disappointing 1937 prison drama that remains notable for Humphrey Bogart's sympathetic portrayal of a redemptive criminal. Otherwise, "San Quentin" is strictly routine. Pat O'Brien makes the most of his contrived role as the reform-minded captain romancing Bogart's sister (a miscast Ann Sheridan). The clichéd proceedings are briefly enlivened by a road-gang escape and ensuing chase. Unfortunately, the Hays Office really took the sting out of this Warner Bros. programmer."
Standard tough prison melodrama, competently done...
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 01/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In "San Quentin," Bogart returns quickly to a life of crime... Trying without success to add some depth and meaning to a role which offered little of either, Bogart is a convicted robber sent to San Quentin and assigned to a road gang as a rehabilitated step instituted by the prison yard captain, Pat O'Brien...
When Bogart is maliciously informed, through the efforts of the bad Barton MacLane, that O'Brien has less than honorable intentions toward his sister, Ann Sheridan, he breaks out and shoots O'Brien, though not seriously...
When he finds that he has made a mistake, he decides to give himself up, but...
"San Quentin," though far from one of Bogart's best roles, is almost always included in his film retrospectives as a favorite choice of his fans...