A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.


“Birdman of Alcatraz” is one of those biopics that doesn’t portray the truth, but creates greater drama. The real Robert Stroud was a murderer who relied on his mother and others to petition President Wilson to commute his sentence. The love and expertise with birds was incidental and created a public relations boon for the prisoner who belonged behind bars. That being said, film fans have to appreciate Frankenheimer breaking out of his showy shell by creating a movie defined by time and constriction. Each angle makes you stay in tight on Lancaster and Savalas. Plus, Frankenheimer uses the film’s slow pace to increase the duration and bring the audience into the cell with Lancaster.

Burt Lancaster gets a bad rap with a lot of modern film fans. I still have no idea why he gets slapped around and Kirk Douglas gets a pass. Sure, Douglas had more of a command over his projects and played the field like an early era Tom Cruise. Lancaster tried hard and sometimes it didn’t work. I’d peg him as being somewhere around a DiCaprio or Law. They can do the work, but they’re not always going to get recognized for it. If you haven’t seen the film, I’d recommend checking it out before it sells out. The disc doesn’t appear to be near its 3500 copy limit, but I wouldn’t sleep on this title.

The Blu-Ray is only available through Twilight Time. The special features range from an isolated score track, commentary from Julie Kirgo, Paul Seydor and Nick Redman. Plus, you get the original trailer. The DTS-HD 1.0 mono master audio track is clean. The same goes for the 1080p transfer, even though there are a few moment of print damage. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.


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