In this case, the warning,”Suitable only for Adults” is appropriate . There are several gruesome killings in BIG HOUSE USA.

I watched this film because of an awesome cast : Broderick Crawford,Ralph Meeker,William Talman, Lon Chaney Jr., Charles Bronson, Roy Roberts,Reed Hadley,Willis Bouchey.



Charles Bronson,William Talman,Lon Chaney Jr.Broderick Crawford.

The film called for colour as much of it was set in Colorado’s Royal Gorge National Park.

Plot-wise, the leading members of the cast are killers and kidnappers, led by Broderick Crawford. He and Talman,Bronson and Chaney are in a high security island prison and don’t appear in the movie till they are joined by Ralph Meeker who is responsible for the death of a young boy he kidnapped in the National Park.

Meeker’s character is nicknamed the ‘Iceman’ because he never cracks under the interrogations of FBI man,Reed Hadley.

Crawford gets the classic line, “The iceman cometh”, when Meeker joins them in prison.

Meeker has hidden the extortion money he got from the boy’s father (Willis Bouchey) and Crawford hatches a plan to break out of prison and take Meeker with them. Meeker wants to serve out his sentence ( as he was only convicted of extortion,not kidnapping, as the boy’s body is never found.)

So Crawford tells the others, “I’m gonna kidnap a kidnapper for the money he kidnapped for.” So they force Meeker to escape with them  and show them where the money is hidden back in the Park.

Broderick Crawford, Ralph Meeker, William Talman, Charles Bronson

Broderick Crawford, Ralph Meeker, William Talman, Charles Bronson

Nice to see Reed Hadley and Roy Roberts ( as a park ranger) on the right side of the law, but Hadley’s semi-documentary style voice-over was unnecessary .

Felicia Farr made her film debut (as Randy Farr) as a nurse who isn’t as innocent as she looks.

Roy Roberts

Roy Roberts

If you can put up with the  violence, there’s plenty of action  –  and that cast.








4 responses »

  1. This was pretty stuff for 1955, but good “fun”.

    Brod played LENNIE in OF MICE AND MEN on Broadway in the ’30s.

    Lon played the same part in the 1940 film version. Of course you knew that.

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