The Steel Jungle (1956)

the steel jungle 1956

Decent prison picture with Perry Lopez as a bookie sentenced to a year in the big house. He asks his boss for help to get out so he can be with his pregnant wife. A prison psychiatrist tries to straighten him out. To make things worse he witnesses a murder.

Bookie Ed Novak (Perry Lopez) works for The Combination. Whenever a bookie is picked up the group’s lawyer gets them off with a fine and the bookie gets two hundred fifty bucks. He uses the money to get his pregnant wife Francis (Beverly Garland) a mink stole.

She’s not happy because she wants him to get a real job. He doesn’t see it that way. He says The Combination has made it possible for them to have more than their neighbors. Now it’s time for court. The judge (Edward Platt) says he’s going to send him up for a year but if he talks about The Combination that may change. Novak remains defiant. Take him away.

In prison he goes to the head of The Combination, Steve Madden (Ted de Corsica) for help. All that does is get him worked over by bodyguard Lupo (Leo Gordon). Warden Keller (Walter Abel) wants to know who did it but Novak  isn’t talking. Prison psychiatrist Dr.Lewy (Kenneth Tobey) sees some decency in Novak but it’s buried deep. He gets nowhere.

Madden tells Novak to meet him that night because they’re getting a bottle of good booze. Novak gets a library pass. The bottle is coming from crooked guard Weaver (Gregory Walcott). Guard Kadinski sees what’s going on and Weaver tosses the bottle at him and hits him on the head knocking him out. Madden and his boys make it look like an accident.

Novak’s library pass was found at the scene. Keller wants to know what happened but again, Novak’s not talking. Keller gives Novak the softest job in the prison at the library. Dr.Lewy knows how the cons will see that and objects. Keller says he’s just doing what he has to.

Looks like the plan works as Madden sets it up to get the guard watching Novak away so he can get Novak alone. (Look fast for Joe Flynn as a prisoner. His claim to fame was as Captain Binghamton on “McHale’s Navy”). Lupo slugs Novak again. Novak tells Madden that if he really did talk he would be in protective custody. Nevertheless Madden says Francine will be hurt if he opens his mouth.

Keller and Lewy tell Novak he can see Francine and the birth of his child if he tells what he saw. Nope. Lewy arranges for Francine to visit. Novak’s still not budging. He goes ballistic when he finds out the conversation with Francine is on tape.

One night Novak gets in Lewy’s car and holds him at knife point. Lewy hits the brakes and tosses the keys out the window. Novak gets out and Weaver opens fire wounding him. He was under orders from Madden to kill him. In the hospital Novak relents and writes a letter telling everything, seals it and gives it to Lewy. Madden wants that letter and arranges for two of his boys on the outside to kidnap Francine.

There are a lot better prison pictures than this but it’s still worth checking out.

 

 

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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