Birdman of Alcatraz

Birdman of Alcatraz

DVD - 2001
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A convicted murderer gains respect & celebrity as an ornithologist while serving a life sentence in prison.
Publisher: Santa Monica, Calif. : MGM Home Entertainment, c2001
ISBN: 9780792849131
0792849132
Branch Call Number: DVD Birdm
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 149 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in

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m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Tom Gaddis (narrating): "That's the island of Alcatraz. There's a man leaving there today after 17 years imprisonment. His name is Robert Stroud. He spent most of his life behind bars, including 43 years in solitary confinement. He has never used a telephone or driven an automobile. The last time he broke bread with another human being was in 1916, the year Kaiser Wilhelm ordered the sinking of the Lucitania in World War One. My name is Tom Gaddis. I write a book about this man."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Warden Shoemaker: "Robert F. Stroud. Breaking that train window is a serious offense." Robert Stroud: "It was hot. I was thinkin' o' my lungs." Warden: "Did you think about the possible consequences? You might've started a riot." Stroud: "Even a convict's got a right to breathe." Warden: "Rights? I don't think you know the meaning of the word. In 1909 in Alaska, you appointed yourself judge, jury and executioner, and killed one... 'Charles Donner', because he allegedly beat up a friend named 'Katie Malone'... a prostitute. Stroud, you were transferred here to Leavenworth because of an inferior record. Now I propose to give you a fresh start."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Warden Shoemaker: "Such rights as you will enjoy, are listed here in my 'rules and regulations'. There are 86 of them. I suggest you memorize them." Robert Stroud: "I know 'em. They're the same in all pens. They tell ya when to eat. When to sleep. When to go to the privy." Warden: "Precisely. And what you'll do for every minute, 24 hours a day... You're going to be here for nine long years, Stroud. So with, or without your cooperation, I intend to make a man of you. Before you check out of these gates, you'll conform to our ideas of how you should behave. You'll learn the lesson now, or you'll learn it five years from now, but you'll learn. For breaking that train window, all your privileges are suspended for 30 days. That's all Mr. Ransom." Bull Ransom: "Let's go."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Warden Shoemaker: "Stroud, what's the matter, man? What's eating you up inside, Bob? You act as though you hate everyone in the world." Robert Stroud: "You live in a pus-hole, you act accordingly." Warden: "Alright, Bob. Maybe 30 days in the hole'll make you happy to see a human face again." Stroud: "Don't count on it... Harvey..." (walks into isolation cell)

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Kramer: "I don't think 30 days in the hole are gonna cool that j-bird off, Warden." Warden Shoemaker: "Now what do you suggest, Mr. Kramer?" Kramer: "He's as mean as a boar and a hog. If it was me, I'd keep him away from the test of the inmates, permanently." Warden: "Isolation?" Kramer: "Yessir." Warden: "No, I don't give up on a man that easily. Stroud comes from good stock. He'll shape up." Kramer: "He's a dingbat, Warden. He's dangerous." Warden: "He's my responsibility, Mr. Kramer. Now you let me worry about his behavior." Kramer: "Yessir."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Warden Shoemaker: "I just came from Kramer's widow. I couldn't look her in the eye, Stroud. I feel responsible for her husband's death - he warned me about you... he told me you were dangerous, but I wouldn't listen... and now he's cold in his grave. Already you've taken the lives of two human beings, and you haven't even felt a twinge of conscience." Robert Stroud: "Whattya want me to do, cry? Say I'm sorry? I'm only sorry for Kramer's wife." Warden: "And the dead man?" Stroud: "He was fixin' to brain me with his club. I protected myself." Warden: "No remorse, huh? No pity. Just an animal." Stroud: "Ain't that what these cages are for? Animals?" Warden: "I have to make out a report about this killing. I hope that it'll help to hang you."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Robert Stroud: "Look, Ma. You fought. Spent all your money. You got old followin' me from jail to jail. It's time to douse the lights." Elizabeth Stroud: "I told you, Robbie. I will not let them kill you. I'm going to Washington, D.C., very soon. I haven't begun to fight."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Warden Shoemaker: "Look around you, Stroud. This is going to be your home for as long as you live." Robert Stroud: "Ain't much more you can do to me, is there?" Warden: "A few things. Consider this: You will not be permitted to associate with the other prisoners, not even to exercise with them. You'll eat all your meals alone for the rest of your life. Visiting and corresponding privileges will be limited to your immediate family. And there'll be no work. Nothing to do but count the hours and the days and the years."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Robert Stroud: "They're tearin' down my gallows." Warden Shoemaker: "To my great regret." Stroud: "Yeah, it must've galled you to give that order, huh Harv? You know, I think I've got you figured out, Shoemaker. The first day I came here, you as much as asked me to get down on my knees and whimper. I wouldn't do it then, and I won't do it now. I won't lick your hand, and that's what eats you, ain't it keeper? Well you keep this in mind: A man ain't whipped until he quits. And I'll never give you that pleasure. (kicks cell door) Now get out of here!" Warden: "I'll never forget you as long as I live. No matter what happens to me - no matter where I am, if I ever get a chance to punish you further, I'll do it." Stroud: "Drop in from time to time. See how long I stick around." Warden: "Oh, I don't have to drop in on you. I'll always know where you are."

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

Tom Gaddis (narrating): "Being in solitary is like being on rails. A man pushes your food through the door. You eat alone. Once a week, you get a shower. You walk in the bullpen. Once a month, an inmate comes and cuts your hair. You read. You pace your cell. Once a week, you get clean laundry. You pace your cell.The routine's always the same. The only way you can break it is to go on sick call. You sit and listen to your heartbeat. You hear your life ticking away. The thing that swells in your head until you lose your mind... is that you know for sure... what's coming next..."

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a
akirakato
Jan 08, 2015

This is a 1962 film directed by John Frankenheimer.
It tells about the life of Robert Stroud---a federal prison inmate known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" because of his life with birds.
According to those who knew him while he was in prison, the mild-mannered characterization of Stroud was largely fiction.
Former inmate Glenn Williams went so far as to say that Stroud "was not a sweetheart; he was a vicious killer."
He and another former convict, Jim Quillan, described the real Stroud as a "jerk" who liked chaos and turmoil and upheaval---always at somebody else's expense."
Although the former inmates regarded the film as an "excellent comedy", I think it is a fascinating and thought-provoking film as an entertainment.

u
uzebdrumz
Jan 06, 2015

A dangerous inmate convicted of manslaughter, assault, & murder becomes a respected orinthologist within the confines of prison. The life of the convicts mimics the life of the caged birds, yet they provide some comfort to the convicts & the contagion spreads to allow convicts to keep all manner of pets, leading to their eventual ban due to hygiene & pests. Filmed in black & white, the use of contrast allows the shadows of bars to invade many shots of both the birds & men - they are all caged animals. Burt Lancaster as Robert Stroud is impressive & singularly exemplified by his climactic indictment of the penal system itself at a meeting with the warden in Alcatraz. Stroud's assessment foreshadows the idea of prison reform & gives credibility to the sympathetic efforts of people like Johnny Cash. It's difficult to imagine a life in prison, but the slow & steady pace over 2½ hours gives a tiny window into that life.

g
garycornell
Jun 12, 2014

Burt Lancaster is great as the Bird Man of Alcatraz, which is a true story. As a convict on the island he studied birds and got to know their habits and how to treat them from disease. He even printed a book of his findings. This is an amazing story that shows how a man can redeem himself to society. The birds became like all pets, he loved, he cared for them and he protected them.

JAMESG May 21, 2013

Excellent movie from start to finish. Very captivating the Mother in it is very convincing. Burt Lancaster at his best. Karl Malden was good in his role as well.

If you want to see a prison movie based on a real person that isn't filled with violence and swearing, but good old acting. Rent this one!

s
sdelao
Nov 03, 2012

Starring Burt Lancaster who is simply outstanding. Recommend Highly!

m
Monolith
Apr 24, 2012

This is unquestionably one of the best biopic/dramas I have ever seen, brilliantly directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, etc.). I'm not sure which film won the Oscars fifty years ago in '62, or which actor, but this should have. Some consolation is that Lancaster DID win the BAFTA though, the Brits' Academy Award equivalent. His performance, to me was nothing short of stellar. The entire cast, for that matter, was superb. Savalas wasn't acting - he was just a naturally rough and tough Greek (lol). Karl Malden was always great -- he seems to get overlooked. Amazing trained birds, phenomenal script/dialogue, Elmer Bernstein's flutey, flighty score... But most importantly, this incredible man's life story. His defiance, his tenacity, his intellect, his patience, his loneliness. The birds gave him companionship, saved his sanity and his spirit from being broken. He bettered himself while making the birds better. An astonishing story. FIVE STARS.

k
kwarah
Oct 18, 2011

It's just fantastic to see, a convicted double-murderer, sentenced to life in prison, spending his whole life in isolation & solitary confinement, finding solace in saving a dying bird, researching, inventing medicine & writing books on how to save birds, enriching his own soul & society.

Interesting to know, some NEVER give in to the confinements of prison.
despite their own crimes getting them in trouble.

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