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My Six Convicts

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My Six Convicts
Directed byHugo Fregonese
Screenplay byMichael Blankfort
Based onBook by Donald Powell Wilson
Produced byEdna and Edward Anhalt
(associate producers)
StarringMillard Mitchell
Gilbert Roland
John Beal
Marshall Thompson
CinematographyGuy Roe, A.S.C.
Edited byGene Havlick, A.C.E.
Music byDimitri Tiomkin
Stanley Kramer Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 20, 1952 (1952-03-20)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.1 million (US rentals)[1]

My Six Convicts is a 1952 American film noir crime drama directed by Hugo Fregonese. The screenplay was adapted by Michael Blankfort from the autobiographical book My Six Convicts: A Psychologist's Three Years in Fort Leavenworth, written by Donald Powell Wilson.[citation needed]

The film stars Millard Mitchell, Gilbert Roland, John Beal and Marshall Thompson. Mitchell won a Golden Globe Award for his performance.[citation needed]


Prison psychologist Doc attempts to help his incarcerated patients.[citation needed]




While dealing with serious issues, the film conveys a comedic tone. The film is true to the overall spirit of the book upon which it is based, but dramatic license was taken with certain events that were created solely to add dramatic elements. For example, the failed prison break and the resulting death of an innocent inmate are fictional plot points not found in Donald Powell Wilson's book,[citation needed] although the book may itself contain plot contrivances.[2]


The film was shot on location at San Quentin State Prison, where warden Clinton Duffy had implemented reforms that sought to rehabilitate prisoners much in the same way as does the Doc character.[3]

Because of San Quentin's strict policy prohibiting women from entering the inner prison area, a short prison guard was asked to impersonate the Mrs. Randall character in long shots. Actress Carol Savage portrayed the character in closeup studio shots.[4]

Musical director Dimitri Tiomkin visited Sing Sing prison to hear the prisoners' band and songs sung by the prisoners in preparation for his film score.[5]


In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic A. H. Weiler wrote: "... [P]enology, psychology and crime have been blended into a compassionate, thoughtful, incisive and, above all, genuinely humorous account of life behind prison walls. ... There may be doubters who will scoff at the possibility of a convict such as Connie being permitted to leave the penitentiary (under guard) to open a bank safe but as played by Millard Mitchell, who runs off with the acting honors, the facts are not particularly important."[6]

Director Hugo Fregonese received fan letters from prison inmates and said, "I'm flattered. After all, these are the first fan letters I've ever received."[7]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor Millard Mitchell Won
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Feature Film Hugo Fregonese Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953
  2. ^ Sokolsky, George (1951-09-23). "'My Six Convicts' No Book To Take Seriously". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. p. 6.
  3. ^ Fidler, Jimmie (1951-10-12). "'My Six Convicts' Is Important Picture". The Durham Sun. pp. 6-D.
  4. ^ "Pint-Sized Prison Guard Doubles for Actress". The Charlotte Observer. 1952-01-15. pp. 9-A.
  5. ^ "Around and about the film studios". Paddington Mercury. London, England. 1951-07-27. p. 2.
  6. ^ Weiler, A. H. (1952-03-28). "The Screen: Three Films Have Premieres". The New York Times. p. 27.
  7. ^ Hopper, Hedda (1952-01-31). "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood". Tucson Citizen. p. 18.

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