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Author Topic: ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ: The Story 4: The Warden  (Read 2736 times)
KC
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« on: January 30, 2005, 11:43:06 PM »

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Patrick McGoohan ... conveys the essential inner isolation of the warden, as obsessed with Alcatraz as though he were also its prisoner.
(Clint Eastwood/Malpaso, by Fuensanta Plaza, p. 105)

 
A warden of any penitentiary must feel somewhat isolated from the real world, but what do you think it was like to be a warden on Alcatraz Island? Although it's not addressed in the film, the warden of Alcatraz (and many of the guards and their families) lived on Alcatraz Island. Do you think being so isolated from the real world has had an effect on the Warden or the guards as shown in the film? Does the Warden appear to be a prisoner of Alcatraz also, perhaps in a different way than the inmates? Why do you think the Warden was so adamant that the prisoners drowned, even as he held the chrysanthemum in his fist on Angel Island?
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dane with no name
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2005, 07:44:53 AM »

It does sound like it´s a lonely life, but i think the warden was a control freak. Everything had to be neat, ordered and perfect. The wardens office is neat and tidy (even the birds cage, and the fishtank), and he seems obsessed with clean, short fingernails. He´s always dressed nicely, and wants everything to appear perfect. (like when he stops doc´s paintings) With the escape his ordered life breaks down, and he probably blames himself for not being harder, more perfect, and in control.
Thats why claiming that morris drowned is so important for him. He clings on to it as a hope that he still wins, that his rodered structured life is till perfect...
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vik
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2005, 01:57:52 PM »

i get the feeling he was very remote from the prisoners -i know we are talking a different era to today where their needs etc have to be responded to

look at brubaker for example where the warden supposedly goes in as a prisoner you wouldn't see that here

i know we are talking the likes of al capone etc. but he really has less personality than most of the prisoners
you've have to laugh at that painting and his reaction - no sense of humour

he looks at reacts as you expect the rock to
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 08:12:45 PM »

I'll need to look again at the movie to pick up any finer points, but my general impression is one of agreement with Dane.

Seems to me like he has become totally institutionalised, and obsessed by beating the prisoners.  At the end he is reassuring himself that they drowned, clinging to the hope that they did, otherwise he is beaten.  In a way, he's beaten anyway, because of the uncertainty.  The nagging doubt probably dogged him for the rest of his life.

He knows these are resourceful, and in many cases, intelligent prisoners.  I wonder if he hasn't got some kind of a chip on his shoulder.  Maybe he wasn't the brightest cookie at school, or his parents had high expectations that he didn't feel he met.  Sorry if I'm sounding like a social worker, but people often want to control other people to disguise their own inadequacies, and to reassure themselves that they are worthy.  By preventing the prisoners escaping, he was proving to himself that he could do better than them.  It was more than a job, it was personal.

He would have been humiliated at the end.  The policeman tells him that he is wanted on the next plane to Washington, presumably to account for himself.  He can't have relished that prospect.  (Incidentally, when I first heard that my reaction was that it seemed a bit unrealistic, and over-the-top, that he'd be called to Washington so immediately.  But maybe I'm way off there.)  Again that reinforces my impression of someone wanting to be worthy - the teacher is going to tell him off, and he wants to be the good boy who gets the praise.
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KC
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2007, 06:13:30 PM »

Thanks to everyone for participating in this discussion. This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the General Discussion forum.
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