Convicts 4

Convicts 4
Convicts 4.jpg
Directed by Millard Kaufman
Produced by A. Ronald Lubin
Screenplay by Millard Kaufman
Based on Reprieve; the Testament of John Resko
1959 Autobiography
by John Resko
Starring Ben Gazzara
Stuart Whitman
Vincent Price
Rod Steiger
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Ray Walston
Music by Leonard Rosenman
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc
Edited by George White
Distributed by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • September 15, 1962 (1962-09-15)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Convicts 4 is a 1962 prison film drama starring Ben Gazzara and directed by Millard Kaufman.[1][2][3] The film is a fictionalized version of the life of death row convict John Resko, who wrote his autobiography: Reprieve.


It is Christmas, 1931, and John Resko (Ben Gazzara) wants to give his baby daughter a new teddy bear. He goes, without money, into a shop and tries to get the shopkeeper to give it to him saying he will pay him later. The shopkeeper refuses, Resko grabs a gun he saw in the till and points it at the man. The shopkeeper lunges at Resko and is shot. Resko is condemned to the electric chair at the age of eighteen.

Pardoned by the governor at the last minute, Resko is sentenced to Dannemora Prison, where he has difficulty adjusting to life behind bars. It becomes even less bearable after hearing that his wife (Carmen Phillips) has left him and that his father (Jack Kruschen) has died.

Resko does long stretches in solitary confinement. But he is befriended eventually by fellow convicts like Iggy (Ray Walston) and Wino (Sammy Davis Jr.) who help him to pass the time. When he takes up art as a hobby, Resko's work is seen by an art critic, Carl Carmer (Vincent Price), who believes him to have promise.

In 1949, after 18 years in prison, Resko is released. His daughter (Susan Silo) and granddaughter are waiting when he gets out.



Filmed at Folsom State Prison and when filming was done, Sammy Davis Jr. asked to put on a show for the actual inmates. With a couple of limitations, the show went on and was a "hit."

See also


  1. ^ Variety film review; April 4, 1962; reviewed as "Reprieve."
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; April 28, 1962, page 63.
  3. ^ Monthly Film Bulletin review; 1962, page 115.

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