Review: ‘Riot in Cell Block 11’

Riot in Cell Block 11 is a hard-hitting, suspenseful prison thriller.

Riot in Cell Block 11 is a hard-hitting, suspenseful prison thriller.

The pros and cons of prison riots are stated articulately in the Richard Collins screen story, and producer Walter Wanger uses a realistic, almost documentary, style to make his point for needed reforms in the operation of penal institutions.

The picture doesn’t use formula prison plot. There’s no inmate reformed by love or fair treatment, nor unbelievable boy-meets-girl, gets-same angle. Nor are there any heroes and heavies of standard pattern. Instead, it deals with a riot, how it started and why, what was done to halt it, the capitulations on both sides.

The points for reform made in the Wanger production cover overcrowding housing, poor food, the mingling of mentally well and mentally sick prisoners, the character-corroding idleness of men caged in cell blocks.

A standout performance is given by Emile Meyer, the warden who understands the prisoners’ problems.

Riot in Cell Block 11


Allied Artists. Director Don Siegel; Producer Walter Wanger; Screenplay Richard Collins; Camera Russell Harlan; Editor Bruce B. Pierce; Music Herschel Burke Gilbert


(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 80 MIN.


Neville Brand Emile Meyer Frank Faylen Leo Gordon Robert Osterloh Paul Frees
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety