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HISTORY

This film was completed in Dec 1919 or Jan 1920, but no evidence that it was ever released under the title The Gray Brother has been located. It is listed in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 (F2.4621) as The Right Way , under which title it was distributed by Producers Security Exchange in 1921. It was also reviewed in 1921 as Making Good . A re-edited version of the film was re-issued in 1928 under the title Within Prison Walls . Thomas Mott Osborne, who was a warden of Sing Sing Prison and of the U.S. Naval Prison, is credited as producer in the AFI Catalog listing for The Right Way and as personal supervisor in reviews of the film's general release in Nov 1921, but only as a writer by sources from 1919 and 1920. Actress Ann Egleston's name is spelled Annie Ecleston in reviews of the film's 1921 ... More Less

This film was completed in Dec 1919 or Jan 1920, but no evidence that it was ever released under the title The Gray Brother has been located. It is listed in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 (F2.4621) as The Right Way , under which title it was distributed by Producers Security Exchange in 1921. It was also reviewed in 1921 as Making Good . A re-edited version of the film was re-issued in 1928 under the title Within Prison Walls . Thomas Mott Osborne, who was a warden of Sing Sing Prison and of the U.S. Naval Prison, is credited as producer in the AFI Catalog listing for The Right Way and as personal supervisor in reviews of the film's general release in Nov 1921, but only as a writer by sources from 1919 and 1920. Actress Ann Egleston's name is spelled Annie Ecleston in reviews of the film's 1921 release. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
20 Dec 19
p. 265.
ETR
10 Jan 20
p. 607.
ETR
24 Jan 20
p. 799.
ETR
27 Nov 20
p. 4091.
MPN
20 Dec 19
p. 4480, 4492
MPN
27 Dec 19
p. 251.
MPN
12 Nov 21
p. 2601.
MPW
20 Dec 19
p. 979.
MPW
27 Dec 19
p. 1172.
MPW
17 Jan 20
p. 427.
MPW
12 Nov 21
p. 218.
MPW
19 Nov 21
p. 288.
MPW
26 Nov 21
p. 397.
Variety
4 Nov 21
p. 41.
Variety
26 Sep 28
p. 58.
Wid's
13 Nov 21
p. 9.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Right Way
Within Prison Walls
Making Good
Release Date:
1920
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

With the intention of contrasting older, harsh methods of treatment of prisoners with the reforms advocated by the Mutual Welfare League (a prisoners' organization based on the honor system), the story is told of two boys - one poor and one rich - and their prison experiences. The Poor Boy, a victim of his slum environment, goes to a reformatory for a minor offense and there learns to become a perfect crook. Thanks to a stool pigeon, he is eventually sent to a prison, which is conducted under traditional methods of lockstep, prison labor, silence, contract labor, brutal punishment and torture. Meanwhile, The Rich Boy is sentenced to the same prison - now under a newer, more humane regime - for forging his father's signature. He becomes friends with The Poor Boy, who had been released and returned to prison for assaulting the stool pigeon. The Smiler, another member of The Poor Boy's gang, is unjustly condemned to electrocution for the murder of the stool pigeon. Although they are trusted members of the Mutual Welfare League, the boys escape and find evidence that clears The Smiler; but they are too late, and an innocent man is executed. For their efforts, however, the boys are paroled, to the joy of their waiting ... +


With the intention of contrasting older, harsh methods of treatment of prisoners with the reforms advocated by the Mutual Welfare League (a prisoners' organization based on the honor system), the story is told of two boys - one poor and one rich - and their prison experiences. The Poor Boy, a victim of his slum environment, goes to a reformatory for a minor offense and there learns to become a perfect crook. Thanks to a stool pigeon, he is eventually sent to a prison, which is conducted under traditional methods of lockstep, prison labor, silence, contract labor, brutal punishment and torture. Meanwhile, The Rich Boy is sentenced to the same prison - now under a newer, more humane regime - for forging his father's signature. He becomes friends with The Poor Boy, who had been released and returned to prison for assaulting the stool pigeon. The Smiler, another member of The Poor Boy's gang, is unjustly condemned to electrocution for the murder of the stool pigeon. Although they are trusted members of the Mutual Welfare League, the boys escape and find evidence that clears The Smiler; but they are too late, and an innocent man is executed. For their efforts, however, the boys are paroled, to the joy of their waiting sweethearts. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.