World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Big House (1930 film)

Article Id: WHEBN0000061186
Reproduction Date:

Title: The Big House (1930 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 3rd Academy Awards, The Last Moment, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 film), The Rogue Song, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Big House (1930 film)

The Big House
Original lobby card with Morris and Beery
Directed by George W. Hill
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written by Frances Marion
Joseph Farnham
Martin Flavin
Starring Robert Montgomery
Wallace Beery
Chester Morris
Lewis Stone
Music by Louis Silvers
Cinematography Harold Wenstrom
Edited by Blanche Sewell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates June 14, 1930
Running time 87 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Big House is a 1930 film starring Frances Marion, with additional dialogue by Joseph Farnham and Martin Flavin.[1]

Lon Chaney, Sr. was originally chosen for the role of Butch, a violent career criminal who rules the prison cellblock. Due to Chaney's death, this role went to Beery. The movie launched Beery's sound career to new heights; a top supporting actor in silents, he had been dropped by his studio when sound came in. After The Big House became a hit and his performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role, he became the world's highest paid actor within two years.

Marion won the Academy Award for Best Writing Achievement. Douglas Shearer also won the first Academy Award for Sound. The film was nominated for Best Picture.[2]


Kent (Chester Morris), the two leaders of the inmates. Butch is alternately menacing and friendly, while Morgan tries to help out the frightened, inexperienced youngster, but Kent rebuffs his overtures.

When Butch is ordered into

When Butch tells Morgan of his plan for a jailbreak on Thanksgiving, Morgan tells him that he is going straight. In return for a promise of freedom, Kent informs the warden (Lewis Stone) of the attempt, though he is not privy to the details.

Despite the warning, the inmates succeed in taking over the prison, capturing many of the guards, though they are unable to force their way out. Thwarted, Butch threatens to shoot the guards one by one unless they are allowed to escape. When the warden stands firm, Butch shoots the warden's right-hand man in cold blood, then tosses the dying man out for all to see. Army tanks are summoned to break down the entrance. Morgan grabs a pistol from the prisoner assigned to watch the guards. He finds Kent cowering with the guards, but spares him. Kent panics and flees before Morgan locks the guards in to save their lives. When Kent tries to open the front doors, he is killed in the crossfire. Butch is told that Morgan was the "stoolie" who tipped off the warden and learns that he has also put the guards beyond his murderous reach. He sets out to kill his former friend. In the ensuing gunfight, both are wounded, Butch fatally. Before he dies, he learns that Kent was the traitor, and he and Morgan reconcile.

For his efforts, Morgan is given a full pardon. When he exits the prison, Anne rushes to embrace him.

Foreign Language Versions

In the early days of sound films, it was common for Hollywood studios to produce "Foreign Language Versions" of their films using the same sets, costumes and so on. While many of these versions no longer exist, the French and German-language versions of The Big House survive, which are entitled Révolte dans la prison and Menschen Hinter Gittern.



  1. ^ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (2009). The Big House (DVD). Warner Bros. Archive Collection. 
  2. ^ "The 3rd Academy Awards (1929/30) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from School eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.