The Big House Overview:

The Big House (1930) was a Drama - Thriller/Suspense Film directed by George W. Hill and Ward Wing and produced by Irving Thalberg.


Early talkie that set the stage for the countless men-behind-bars melodramas that followed. Grim depiction of the brutal conditions at an overcrowded prison that lead to a violent rebellion by angry prisoners.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Academy Awards 1929/30 --- Ceremony Number 3 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorWallace BeeryNominated
Best PictureCosmopolitanNominated
Best WritingFrances MarionWon

BlogHub Articles:

The Criminal Code (1931): Howard Hawks in The Big House

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jan 25, 2022 From 4 Star Films

Although this is still a very early talkie, you can already see Howard Hawks developing a more intricate sense of dialogue which he would be known for in his pictures — most notably His Girl Friday. In the opening scene at the police station, we have dialogue piled on top of each other between... Read full article

Video of the Week: “Revolt in the Big House” trailer

By Marisa on Apr 22, 2015 From The Timothy Carey Experience

After another short break, I’m back with a vengeance! In fact, we’re crashing out tonight. Our video for this week is the trailer for R.G. Springsteen‘s prison melodrama Revolt in the Big House (1958). Timothy can be seen doing his thing as Ed “Bugsy” Kyle (aka “T... Read full article

Videos of the Week: “Revolt in the Big House” and Robert Blake

By Marisa on Nov 6, 2014 From The Timothy Carey Experience

D’OH! I was so busy yesterday I never got around to posting our regular Wednesday video. My apologies! So, to attempt to make up for my negligence, today you’re getting not one but two videos! Let’s start off with the one I should have posted last week but it hadn’t quite bee... Read full article

Pic of the Day: “Revolt in the Big House” promotional still

By Marisa on Oct 28, 2014 From The Timothy Carey Experience

To celebrate the long-awaited official commercial DVD release of Revolt in the Big House (1958), our pic today is another promotional still from that very film. Lou Gannon (Gene Evans) and Bugsy Kyle confer during said revolt. The Warner Archive Collection is a great source for several of Timothy&#... Read full article

Pic of the Day: “Revolt in the Big House” revisited

By Marisa on Jul 8, 2014 From The Timothy Carey Experience

Our pic today takes another look at Revolt in the Big House (1958), the low-budget prison yarn directed by R.G. Springsteen. Big man on campus Bugsy Kyle holds forth while his lackeys Red (John Dennis, in the back) and Al (Sam Edwards) look on in approval. My MSTie pals will recognize Edwards from ... Read full article

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Quotes from

No Quote for this film.

Facts about

Director George W. Hill threatened to fire anyone who "acted", and forbade makeup.
In Frances Marion's original script, the characters played by Leila Hyams and Robert Montgomery were husband and wife. After the film flopped in a preview screening, MGM studio executive Irving Thalberg decided that the problem was that audiences, especially women, didn't want to see the Chester Morris character have an affair with a married woman. So the script was rewritten to make Montgomery and Hyams brother and sister. Scenes were reshot and the film, in its modified form, became a major hit.
Hal Roach, who had been releasing his comedies through MGM, obtained an agreement allowing him to use the prison set from "The Big House" for a Laurel & Hardy short. Howver, as the comedy was being planned, MGM stipulated that Laurel & Hardy would have to make a film for the parent studio. Not wanting to loan out his biggest stars, Roach built his own set, an expense so great that the short was expanded to feature length to recoup the cost. The film became "Pardon Us", Laurel and Hardy's first starring feature.
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Best Writing Oscar 1929/30

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Also directed by George W. Hill

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Also produced by Irving Thalberg

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Also released in 1930

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More "Prison" films

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