San Quentin (1937)

Pat O'Brien, Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, Barton MacLane,
An army trainer becomes captain of the prison yard and in time, falls for the sister of a hardened inmate.
  • 6.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Peter Milne, Humphrey Cobb, Robert Tasker, John Bright, Charles Belden, Writer:
  • Lloyd Bacon, Director:
  • Producer:

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6 / 10

Standard tough prison melodrama, competently done

In "San Quentin," Bogart returns quickly to a life of crime? Trying without success to add some depth and meaning to a role which offered little of either, Bogart is a convicted robber sent to San Quentin and assigned to a road gang as a rehabilitated step instituted by the prison yard captain, Pat O'Brien?

When Bogart is maliciously informed, through the efforts of the bad Barton MacLane, that O'Brien has less than honorable intentions toward his sister, Ann Sheridan, he breaks out and shoots O'Brien, though not seriously?

When he finds that he has made a mistake, he decides to give himself up, but?

"San Quentin," though far from one of Bogart's best roles, is almost always included in his film retrospectives as a favorite choice of his fans

7 / 10

"Aw shaddup and gimme the works."

Pat O'Brien is the new captain of the prison guard at San Quentin who clashes with guard Barton MacLane while romancing the sister (Ann Sheridan) of new convict Humphrey Bogart. A great WB prison flick; one of the best. Solid supporting cast of familiar faces. The leads are all great. Sheridan gets to sing a song. She's not as glamorous here as she would be in the '40s, but she's still a looker. Bogie is very entertaining in one of his early roles. He's got pals on the outside that can pull wires, doncha know? O'Brien and MacLane are good in roles they could play in their sleep. The prison stuff is better than the romantic subplot. Bogie fans will like it for his fun performance. Love that gangster tough guy lingo!

9 / 10

there's never a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card

In one of his roles before becoming a top star, Humphrey Bogart plays an inmate in the notorious prison. When new warden Pat O'Brien - romantically involved with Bogey's nightclub singer sister (Ann Sheridan) - comes in, he feels a little more sympathetic to Bogey's predicament and decides that it's OK if the guy leaves...but things don't work out so easily.

I can see "San Quentin" as a sequel of sorts to the numerous gangster flicks that came out in the '30s. Following their lives of crime - into which economic conditions often forced them - these hard-boiled men ended up in the most unpleasant prisons, watched over by cruel guards. Certainly Humphrey Bogart plays as tough a role as one would expect from him, and Barton MacLane (HB's co-star in later movies, and he later played Gen. Peterson on "I Dream of Jeannie") makes one nasty guard. As it is, Ann Sheridan's character is really the only one for whom you can truly root, as most other people have sordid sides.

It's certainly a movie that I recommend. Solid acting from all sides, combined with a tense score and camera angles make it a really good one. You won't be disappointed.

PS: San Quentin is now the home of Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson.

8 / 10

San Quentin: Good Prison Yarn ***

Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan and Pat O'Brien star in this 1937 film detailing prison life.

A man and army official with a heart, O'Brien is sent to this prison to help reform it from a vicious guard played in his usual sinister way by Barton MacLane.

O'Brien falls for lounge singer Sheridan. Coincidentally, her brother is sent to the jail for armed robbery. Tough guy Bogart is reformed by O'Brien until a misunderstanding leads Bogie to believe that he is being treated well since O'Brien is stuck on his sister.

Jealous and angry of O'Brien being brought in over him, MacLane "arranges" a breakout of Bogart and another inmate with tragic results for all resulting.

This picture details when a criminal tries to go straight but other things just get in the way.

Marc Lawrence, who died recently in his 90s, is also excellent as one of the inmates.

The film also shows emotionally disturbed people being in the same prison as hardened criminals.

Note Veda Ann Borg in a small but captivating role.

7 / 10

Dated Prison Drama

The army Captain Stephen Jameson (Pat O'Brien) accepts the assignment to work as captain of San Quentin yard and he celebrates with two military friends in a night-club. He falls in love with the singer May Kennedy (Ann Sheridan) and he witnesses the arrest of her brother Joe 'Red' Kennedy (Humphrey Bogart) for the heist of a restaurant.

The prison warden tells to Lieutenant Druggin (Barton MacLane), who is temporarily in the position of captain, that he will be replaced by Jameson and Druggin is upset. Captain Jameson implements a rigid discipline expecting to regenerate the law offender inmates and he helps Red. When the criminal "Sailor Boy" Hansen (Joseph Sawyer) plans a prison escape, he invites Red to join him. Red refuses, and Hansen poisons him telling that Jameson is helping him is banging his sister. Now Red accepts to escape to kill Jameson.

"San Quentin" is a dated prison drama, with a story that sounds naive and moralist in the present days but nevertheless is a good movie. Ann Sheridan is gorgeous and I am a fan of Humphrey Bogart; in addition the movie has spectacular car chase and I really like and recommend it despite the bad reviews. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "San Quentin"