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Penitentiary

Penitentiary(1938)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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William Jordan, a naive young man celebrating his twenty-first birthday, is arrested after he hits a man who was acting improperly toward his friend, Blanche Williams, and the man, the son of an influential banker, dies. District attorney Thomas Matthews knows that a good attorney could win an acquittal for Will, but he convinces Leonard Nettleford, Will's ill-equipped counsel, to plead manslaughter in the case. After serving six years of a ten-year sentence, Will learns that his mother has died, and Matthews, the new prison warden, at the request of the prison doctor, allows Will to work as chauffeur to his daughter, Elizabeth. Will quickly falls in love with Elizabeth and tells her that parole is unimportant when compared to being with her. Meanwhile, Will's cellmates, Jack Hawkins and Finch, are planning an escape with Tex and Runch. During the escape, Finch is killed and Runch seeks refuge in Matthews' office, thereby marking himself an informer. Then, just as Will is about to be paroled, Runch is killed by Hawkins and Matthews tries to get Will to talk. However, Will refuses to break the "criminal code" by informing on a fellow prisoner. The heartless Captain Grady, who sent Hawkins back to jail for breaking parole by drinking a beer, sends Will to the dungeon run. Elizabeth informs her father that she loves Will, and just as Matthews is about to order Will paroled, he learns that Hawkins has killed Grady because he did not want Will to be forced to take the rap for Runch's death. After Hawkins admits killing Runch, he is shot, and Will and Elizabeth leave the prison together.