"The Birdman of Alcatraz"

Can you imagine trying to pitch that today?

“Two hours and 20 minutes of Burt Lancaster in jail and the theme is ‘people just want to be treated with dignity, and as time goes by people just can’t hold onto hate.’…oh, and no cardboard characters like in Shawshank Redemption*. If there’s a bad guy, it’s the protagonist.”

*And I LOVE Shawshank Redemption, but all the characters in ‘Birdman’ are so …human…compared to most of the Shawshank characters.

If the Internet had existed in 1962…

What a piece of shit. Typical Hollywood, having to go and change everything from the original story, even the title! Robert Stroud never kept birds in Alcatraz, he wasn’t allowed. The 22 years between the time he started caring for birds and the time he was transferred to Alcatraz (because he was making moonshine with some of his birding equipment and supplies) were spent at Leavenworth Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, but I guess the “Birdman of Leavenworth” wasn’t snazzy enough for them. Plus, forget that “Aw look, he’s a free man now” ending. The psychopath (which he was, not that they would have said so in the movie) died in prison. Due to ill health he was transferred in 1959 to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where he died on November 21, 1963. There are tons of other differences, but another big one is that Burt Lancaster didn’t look anything like Stroud. Really, Hollyweird just ruins everything. Why can’t they just tell the damn story the way it actually happened?? [/internet asshole]
Seriously though, I adore this movie, even though I grew up in and around Leavenworth and would have more reason than most to be bitter about that particular change, if I were an asshole. Which I’m not, though I can be, sometimes, which is why I try to keep my mouth shut in other threads. cough, the 47 Ronan hate, a movie I liked a lot

Sure people want to be treated with dignity. But the issue is how they treat other people. Robert Stroud may have liked birds but I’ve seen no evidence that he was rehabilitated.

It’s a great movie, but way too slow by today’s standards . . . which doesn’t say much for today’s standards.

I’m looking forward to next year’s remake although I’m not sure Adam Sandler can pull it off with his usual supporting cast.

Maybe Max Schreck would have been a closer match. Of course, back then, hardly anyone would have known what the real Birdman looked like.

Also, as most movie buffs know, actors are often much better looking than their biopic counterparts. And that was especially true back in the day.

By various reports he was an immensely creepy and repulsive individual. Maybe his part should have been played by Peter Lorre.

A book by a former Alcatraz inmate cites Stroud as being good at staying out of at prison uproars that he personally instigated.

Well, my comment about dignity referred to everyone in the show. I was just as exasperated with Lancaster as Malden and that guard were.

Also, Burt played Stroud as a psycho for the first half of the film. Even near the end of the film, half the stuff he’s saying to Malden isn’t accurate.
It would be difficult viewing to see Stroud played as a psycho for 2 hours and 20 minutes.

True. Star Wars is too slow by today’s standards.

Best description I ever saw of how totally fictional and ‘Hollywood’ the film was, an Alcatraz historian stated that he spent a lot of his time there writing homosexual pedophile fan fiction. He even read the beginning of some, stopping short of the graphic parts…

If they made it now, there’d have to be lots of explosions and walls collapsing and computer graphics and junk. It’d be The Angry Birdman of Alcatraz.

The psychopathic guard would kill his favorite bird - and then he would get REVENGE! We could title it “The Rock II: Bird Rock” and it would star The Rock.

Birdman 2: Electric Cockatoo

The Rock rocks The Rock.

Directed by Brad Bird.

Can you tell me the name of the book by the former inmate?
Also, I met a man who had been a guard at Alcatraz, and had written a book about the 46(??) riot there. He said that Stroud was mad as a hatter.

Although, I do not have a problem with the movie. The movie was great. Who cares for accurate?

I’m not sure how serious you are, but I have seen people making the same statements and seeming to mean them. So to address them :

  1. The film accurately shows his bird-keeping was in Leavenworth, and that he forbidden to keep them upon his transfer to Alcatraz.

  2. Free man ending? Not that I recall. The film ended with him still in prison, didn’t it?

  3. Stroud the psychopath - I think the film shows this to be true. He is shown as a very dangerous and unrepentant multiple killer. The message of the story is that there may be some good in the worst of people, and to make that point they show him as being very bad indeed.

  4. Burt Lancaster not looking like Stroud: that’s true if you compare old Stroud to young Burt. But compare young Burtto young Stroud, or old Burt to old Stroud, the resemblance is acceptable to movie standards.

Royal Dano was robbed of his rightful role!

Lancaster was not shown as being free at the end of TBMoA. He was shown being transferred. And being transferred off The Rock was a good enough step up to be considered a happy ending.

Yeah, the real Stroud was absolutely insane.

It may have been Jim Quillen’s book. I have an autographed copy (Quillen did book signings for tourists at Alcatraz in the '90s) but it’s a while since I read it. I do seem to recall him having negative things to say about Stroud, but I can’t remember the details. I’ll see if I can find the book when I get home tonight.