Story: David (Ralph Forbes) has a bright future ahead, working as an architect with dreams to help everyone afford their home, while his romantic interests burn bright with singer Ruth (Paula Stone), though both prospects seem distant at the moment. Ruth is going through some changes herself, as she plans to leave the club she works at over some shadiness, though David is headed to see her perform, unaware of her impending exit. When he is attacked while he travels to the club, he is knocked out and when he wakes up, his clothes have been swapped out. As it turns out, a prison break was going on and one of the escaped inmates was the attacker, but now with his identity in question and a manhunt on the way, how will David sort out this mess?
Entertainment Value: Convicts at Large is not going to turn heads or be discovered as a hidden gem of cinema, but it is watchable and has some good performances. The story is fine and crafts an interesting narrative, despite the runtime of around an hour. Of course, that means a lean, focused story and that removes some world building and such, but Convicts at Large isn’t trying to weave an epic, just give the audiences a solid watch. The pace is good and never feels slow, but to be honest, the movie can be on the dull side for some stretches. This is because while the cast is good and the writing is passable, there is just not much going on sometimes and despite the short duration, there isn’t much tension or urgency, which deflates the experience somewhat. Convicts at Large seems content to more or less go through the motions and it does so well enough to kind of stem the tide of boredom at times, but not often enough to earn much of a recommendation here.
I do think the cast is the highlight here, as with less solid performances, Convicts at Large could have been a real clunker. Not to say the cast is able to snatch greatness from the jaws of mediocrity, but they turn in good work and elevate the movie, to be sure. Ralph Forbes has the lead and is better here than the few other times I’ve seen him, though to be fair, I have not seen a wide scope of his films. Forbes is a capable lead and is able to make the script work better than it should, though as I mentioned before, the material can be dull and that’s an impediment for the cast here. As with the other efforts in this movie, I don’t know if Forbes work is all that memorable, but for a low rent production like this, he is fine and carries the movie well. Paula Stone is fun to watch at times, as she acts and performs on stage, so the music helps liven things up a little. The cast also includes Charles Brokaw, John Kelly, William Royle, and Florence Lake.