Canon City (film)

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Canon City
Canon City film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Crane Wilbur
Produced by Bryan Foy
Robert Kane
Written by Crane Wilbur
Starring Scott Brady
Jeff Corey
Whit Bissell
Narrated by Reed Hadley
Cinematography John Alton
Edited by Louis Sackin
Bryan Foy Productions
Distributed by Eagle-Lion Films
Release date
  • June 30, 1948 (1948-06-30) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $424,000[1][2]
Box office $1.2 million[1]

Canon City is a 1948 American film noir crime film written and directed by Crane Wilbur. The drama features Scott Brady, Jeff Corey, and Whit Bissell.[3][4]


This account of a violent prison break is a semi-documentary opens with a newsreel type tour of the prison. Led by Carl Schwartzmiller (Jeff Corey), 12 convicts plan their escape but prisoner Jim Sherbondy (Scott Brady) is reluctant to go along with the group.



The film is based on a prison break that occurred at the Colorado State Penitentiary at Cañon City, Colorado on 30 December 1947.[5] Within a week all were killed or captured.


The film was shot almost entirely on location at the site of the Canon City state penitentiary in March 1948. It was originally budgeted at $350,000.[1]


Critical response[edit]

The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote, "Another convincing demonstration that crime, while it may not 'pay,' can be turned to profitable uses by the makers of action films is given by Canon City, a tough semi-documentary job about a prison break in Colorado ... Crane Wilbur has held to a realistic line for much of the prison action and in some of the outside episodes. His actors—especially Jeff Corey, who plays the leader of the 'break'—are generally tough, convincing fellows with nothing to recommend in charm. And the movement is swift and dynamic, not unlikely in such affairs."[6]

Critic Dennis Schwartz said of the film, "An unspectacular true story (it's dated) about a prison break that is told in a semi-documentary style. Its saving grace is that it is well presented ...This minor work has some resemblance to film noir through the characterization of Sherbondy as someone who is not a hardened criminal, but got into trouble both on the outside and then inside of prison because he made the wrong friends."[7]


  1. ^ a b c Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 27
  2. ^ Crane Wilbur, Star of Silent Films, Carves New Career as Producer: Flicker Star Doing Well as Producer Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 14 Nov 1948: D1.
  3. ^ Canon City on IMDb .
  4. ^ Selby, Spencer. Dark City: The Film Noir, film listed as film noir #58 on page 134-135, 1984. Jefferson, N.C. & London: McFarland Publishing. ISBN 0-89950-103-6.
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosley The New York Times, film review, July 8, 1948. Last accessed November 185, 2009.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley. Ibid.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, October 1, 2001. Last accessed November 15, 2009.

External links[edit]