Reed plays career criminal Harry Lomart who finds out soon into his latest incarceration that his beloved wife Pat (Jill St. John, trying on a not entirely successful British accent) isn't going to wait for him when his 15-year jail spell ends. Adding insult to injury she tells him that she has met someone else and wants a divorce. When he hears this, in a show of raw power and rage, Harry somehow gets his hand through the partition separating them and attempts to strangle his wife to death. Prison guards separate Harry from his wife before he can finish the deed, but the stage is set for a daring escape so that Harry can exact his revenge. However, to its credit, the film doesn't play out exactly as one would expect and it has quite a few surprises up its sleeve right up until the final reel.
This is a nasty ride with nary a sympathetic character in sight. Hickox keeps the film moving at a good, energetic pace throughout the film's 93 minutes, fitting in an exciting, tension-filled prison escape, a chase involving motorcycle cops and hanging laundry that defies description, and an emotional finale with a twist that leaves things on an appropriately somber note. Reed's legendary strength and brutish qualities are put to good use here and he turns in a great performance as the emotionally broken Harry. He's joined by a young Ian McShane as his partner in crime, Edward Woodward as the cop hunting them down, Frank Finlay as a duplicitous former associate, and Freddie Jones as a fellow prison escapee.
This is an MGM title and, since it is pre-1986, belongs to Warner Bros. Expect a Warner Archive disc at some point.