The Last Mile

  • 1932
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Prison

Convicted, though innocent, of the murder of his partner, Howard Phillips is sentenced to die in the electric chair. Within hours of Phillips' arrival on death row, another prisoner, George E. Stone, is taken for that last walk while Phillips remembers how he was arguing with his partner when some robbers came in and killed him. As life in the death house...read more

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Convicted, though innocent, of the murder of his partner, Howard Phillips is sentenced to die in the electric chair. Within hours of Phillips' arrival on death row, another prisoner, George E. Stone, is taken for that last walk while Phillips remembers how he was arguing with his partner

when some robbers came in and killed him. As life in the death house settles into its horrible routine of waiting, Phillips gets to know the other prisoners and the sadistic guards. Killer Mears, played by Preston S. Foster, is a hardened criminal who seems resigned to his fate, until the taunting

of Albert J. Smith--the cruelest of the turnkeys--finally pushes him over the edge. When Smith makes the mistake of leaning against Foster's cell, the convict strangles him and takes his keys. The other prisoners are let out of their cells, except for Paul Fix, whose long wait for death has broken

his mind and who refuses to come out. Armed with Smith's gun, Foster manages to capture several more guards and lock them into the cells; then he phones the warden, demanding a fast car and four hours' start. Guards besiege the prisoners and when it becomes obvious that the rebellion is doomed,

Foster steps into the open and is gunned down. The obligatory happy ending comes when Phillips is proved innocent and released, in contrast to the play in which his character is guilty of the murder of his girl friend and goes to the chair soon after. The only film ever directed by Sam Bischoff,

best known as a producer (THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, 1936; YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH, 1941; and others), THE LAST MILE is a gritty, strong work with excellent performances and a message driven home in a prolog in which a real prison warden speaks out against capital punishment. This is one of

the best of a spate of prison films inspired by prison uprisings at Auburn and Dannemora in New York State in 1929. In 1930 "The Last Mile" appeared on stage in New York with Spencer Tracy as Killer Mears. When the show went to Los Angeles, Clark Gable took the part, and within a year both men had

moved to gangster roles in the movies and on to stardom. The play was adapted from a memoir entitled The Law Takes Its Toll, written by Robert Blake while he was awaiting execution in Texas.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Convicted, though innocent, of the murder of his partner, Howard Phillips is sentenced to die in the electric chair. Within hours of Phillips' arrival on death row, another prisoner, George E. Stone, is taken for that last walk while Phillips remembers how… (more)

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