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ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979)

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The five-film collaboration that cemented Clint Eastwood’s stardom came to an end with this tense prison thriller, screening in a world premiere restoration form for its 40th anniversary. Eastwood and director Don Siegel had first worked together on the modern Western Coogan’s Bluff (1968) and had their biggest success with Dirty Harry (1971). Siegel also helped Eastwood make the transition to directing with Play Misty for Me (1971). For their last film, they tackled the true story of Frank Morris, a career convict sent to Alcatraz after escaping from other prisons. With the help of two bank-robbing brothers (Fred Ward and Jack Thibeau), Morris sets out to do the impossible and beat The Rock, the seemingly inescapable island prison. Siegel focuses on the details of everyday prison life and the trio’s painstaking efforts to dig through their cell walls with spoons to make it to the roof. The tense film was a critical and box-office hit, but when director and star quarreled over whose production company would make the picture, it ended their partnership (they would later reconcile as friends). In real life, nobody knows if Morris and his colleagues actually made it out, though there were rumored sightings of his accomplices in South America in the 1970s. (d. Don Siegel, 112m, DCP)

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