Clinton T. Duffy (Paul Kelly) suddenly has a job few would ever want. He’s the interim warden at San Quentin, given the job for 30 days after violence and corruption swept what was then the nation’s largest prison facility. Duffy aims to make his few days matter, cracking down on notorious guards, wiping out a stool-pigeon network and hiring the institute’s first female nurse (Joanne Dru). The reforms take hold. Duffy’s 30 days would become 12 years. Based on his memoir, Duffy of San Quentin tells the story of the warden’s pivotal early tenure through the prism of his interactions with volatile inmate Edward Harper (Louis Hayward). Filmmaker Walter Doniger guides the action. He next made the prison film The Steel Cage (with Kelly and Maureen O’Sullivan returning as the Duffys) and explored life behind bars again in The Steel Jungle. As a trivia note to this film: look for DeForest Kelly in the role of a detective.
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