The Saturday Public Domain Movie: The Last Mile (1932)

"I think I'll go get a little air." - Killer Mears
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Based on Jon Wexley's play, which the movie poster claims "rocked the nation," The Last Mile stars Howard Phillips as Richard Walters, a man sentenced to death row for a murder he denies committing.

While his friends on the outside try to prove his innocence, Walters finds himself in the middle of an uprising.  Killer Mears (Preston S. Foster) leads fellow inmates in taking the prison guards hostage and control of a cell block.  Mears makes demands, but Warden Lewis (Frank Sheridan) has other ideas to end the stand-off.

Director  Sam Bischoff must have intended The Last Mile to be more than a typical crime picture as the film opens with a heartfelt plea from Sing Sing Prsion Warden Lewis E. Laws that society should reconsider its stance on the death penalty because "murder on the heels of murder is not [the] solution."

Interesting bit of trivia regarding actors who played Mears: Spencer Tracy did on Broadway, Clark Gabledid  during a West Coast production, and Mickey Rooney did when the film was remade in 1959.

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