Mrs. Soffel

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Mrs. Soffel
Mrs soffel.jpg
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Gillian Armstrong
Produced by Edgar J. Scherick
David A. Nicksay
Scott Rudin
Written by Ron Nyswaner
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Russell Boyd
Edited by Nicholas Beauman
Distributed by MGM/UA Entertainment
Release date
December 26, 1984
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $4,385,312

Mrs. Soffel is a 1984 American drama film directed by Gillian Armstrong, starring Diane Keaton and Mel Gibson and based on the story of condemned brothers Jack and Ed Biddle, who escaped prison with the aid of the warden's wife, Kate Soffel.

It was filmed on location in and around the Serez family farm in Mulmur, Ontario, as well as Wisconsin (train sequences) and establishing shots in Pittsburgh. The jail sequences were filmed in both the Allegheny County Courthouse and old Allegheny County Jail. The film was entered in the 35th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]


Kate Soffel is the wife of a Pittsburgh prison warden in 1901. They have four children. After several months of being sick in bed for no discernible reason that doctors can figure out, she suddenly regains her strength. She visits inmates to read Bible scripture to them and meets Ed Biddle and his brother Jack, both of whom may be innocent of the crimes that brought them there.

Mrs. Soffel falls in love with Ed and enables him and Jack to escape, smuggling bar-cutting blades to him at the prison. They go on the run together, with tragic results.



The film received lackluster reviews upon release and currently holds a 36% 'Rotten' score on Rotten Tomatoes.[2] Roger Ebert awarded the film two stars, calling it "an anemic Bonnie and Clyde" and concluding that the performances were unconvincing.[3] Vincent Canby called it a "very strange and maddening movie", but praised the performances of Keaton and Gibson.[4]


  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1985 Programme". Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  2. ^ "'Mrs. Soffel' (1984)". Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  3. ^ Roger Ebert (1984-01-01). "Mrs. Soffel Movie Review". Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  4. ^ Vincent Canby (1984-12-26). "Movie Review -- Diane Keaton Portrays 'Mrs. Soffel'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-06-17.

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