The Steel Cage

The Steel Cage is a 1954 American drama film directed by Walter Doniger, written by Oliver Crawford, Walter Doniger, Scott Littleton, Berman Swarttz and Guy Trosper, and starring Paul Kelly, Maureen O'Sullivan, Walter Slezak, John Ireland, Lawrence Tierney and Arthur Franz. It was released in December 1954, by United Artists.[1][2]

The Steel Cage
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWalter Doniger
Produced byWalter Doniger
Berman Swarttz
Screenplay byOliver Crawford
Walter Doniger
Scott Littleton
Berman Swarttz
Guy Trosper
Based onThe San Quentin Story
by Clinton T. Duffy
Dean Jennings
StarringPaul Kelly
Maureen O'Sullivan
Walter Slezak
John Ireland
Lawrence Tierney
Arthur Franz
CinematographyJohn Alton
Joseph F. Biroc
Edited byEverett Dodd
Chester W. Schaeffer
Swarttz-Doniger Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • December 1954 (1954-12)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States


In three separate stories, San Quentin warden Duffy must contend with a crisis at the prison.

Louis, a prison cook, is about to be paroled, upsetting fellow inmate Brenner, who loves Louis's food so much that he tries to bribe him to stay behind bars. After that plan fails, a customer comes to a restaurant where Louis has been hired as chef. His insults about the dishes are so insulting, Louis smashes a plate over his head, breaking his parole. Behind prison walls again, Louis learns that Brenner's the one who sent the customer, Lee Filbert, who is now a San Quentin prisoner himself.

Ruthless convict Chet Harmon plans a breakout with help from brothers Al and Frank. A gun is planted and Chet is almost successful, taking Warden Duffy hostage, but Al has second thoughts after his brother is seriously wounded.

A mural of The Last Supper needs repair in the prison's chapel, so chaplain Harvey asks an artistically inclined inmate named Steinberg to do the restoration. Two other prisoners are sneaking in liquor through the chapel, so Steinberg demands a piece of their action. They end up taking the priest hostage as Duffy deals with a deadly confrontation.



  1. "The Steel Cage (1954) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  2. "The Steel Cage". TV Guide. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
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