Birdman of Alcatraz (film)


Birdman of Alcatraz (film)

Infobox Film
name = Birdman of Alcatraz


caption =
director = John Frankenheimer
producer = Harold Hecht
writer = Thomas E. Gaddis (book)
Guy Trosper
narrator =
starring = Burt Lancaster
Karl Malden
Thelma Ritter
Neville Brand
Telly Savalas
music = Elmer Bernstein
cinematography = Burnett Guffey
editing = Edward Mann
distributor = United Artists
released = 3 July 1962
runtime = 143 minutes
country = U.S.
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:5725
imdb_id = 0055798

"Birdman of Alcatraz" is a 1962 film starring Burt Lancaster and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud, a federal prison inmate known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" because of his life with birds.

The film was adapted by Guy Trosper from the 1955 book by Thomas E. Gaddis. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Burt Lancaster), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Telly Savalas), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Thelma Ritter) and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. Stroud was never allowed to see the film.

Plot summary

The movie is told in flashback, narrated by Edmond O'Brien, who plays Gaddis, the author of the book upon which the movie is based.

Robert Stroud is imprisoned as a young man for committing a murder in Alaska. He is shown as a rebellious inmate, fighting against a rigid prison system. In an early scene he breaks open the window of a prison train, to allow the suffocating inmates to breathe.

He is sentenced to life in prison after stabbing a guard who denied him a visit from his mother (Thelma Ritter). The terms of the sentence require that he be kept in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. His rebellious attitude—portrayed in the film as justifiable—puts him in conflict with the warden of Leavenworth Prison (Karl Malden).

To break the monotony, Stroud adopts a bird as a pet. When the bird gets sick, he experiments with a cure. As the years pass, working with many birds, he becomes an expert on bird diseases. He publishes a book on bird remedies, and then writes a history of the U.S. penal system that is suppressed. He remains rebellious and at odds with authority. He marries and then divorces a woman who had corresponded with him about birds. This turns his mother against him.

Stroud is abruptly transferred to the federal penitentiary at Alcatraz, a new maximum security institution where he is not permitted to keep birds. He is now growing elderly, and though still rebellious he is a positive influence, and helps stop a prison rebellion in 1946. He is transferred to a prison hospital after Alcatraz closes, but efforts to gain his freedom fail.

Fact versus fiction

Burt Lancaster’s impersonation of Stroud stirred sympathy with the general public. However, prison historians have pointed out that the real Stroud was a merciless killer who showed no remorse for his crimes.

Cultural references

The 1967 song, "Birdman Of Alkatraz," by psychedelic band Strawberry Alarm Clock gets its title from this film, although the song's theme is very different from that of the film.

External links

*
* [http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/famous/stroud/ Crime Library article on Robert Stroud]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Birdman of Alcatraz — Le Prisonnier d Alcatraz Le Prisonnier d Alcatraz est un film américain de John Frankenheimer sorti en 1962 très controversé. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution 4 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Birdman of Alcatraz — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Der Gefangene von Alcatraz Originaltitel: Birdman of Alcatraz Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1962 Länge: 148 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alcatraz Island — Alcatraz redirects here. For other uses, see Alcatraz (disambiguation). Alcatraz Island IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape) …   Wikipedia

  • Alcatraz — 37°49′37″N 122°25′23″O / 37.82694, 122.42306 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Birdman — may refer to: * Birdman of Alcatraz , a 1962 film * Birdman (novel), a novel by Mo Hayder * Radio Birdman, a 1970s Australian punk/garage group * Birdman Records, an independent music label * Birdman , an EP by the British band Ride * Birdman… …   Wikipedia

  • Alcatraz — Gewässer Bucht von San Francisco Geographische Lage …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alcatraz — I Alcatraz   [ælkə træz], kleine Felseninsel in der San Francisco Bay, Kalifornien (USA). Von Spaniern entdeckt und Pelikaninsel (Isla de los Alcatraces) genannt; im 19. Jahrhundert errichtete die US Armee ein Fort, das zeitweilig als… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Alcatraz Island — Rocky island in San Francisco Bay, California, U.S. It has an area of 22 acres (9 hectares) and is located 1. 5 mi (2 km) offshore from the city of San Francisco. The site of the first lighthouse (1854) on the California coast, it became an army… …   Universalium

  • Alcatraz Island in popular culture — Depictions of Alcatraz Island in popular culture can be found in many different popular culture media.Film/TVA view of Alcatraz is often used in an establishing shot of films and television shows set in San Francisco, but features explicitly in… …   Wikipedia

  • Prison d'Alcatraz — Alcatraz 37°49′37″N 122°25′23″O / 37.82694, 122.42306 …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.