Monday, August 28, 2006

The Birdman of Alcatraz

Earlier this summer I visited Alcatraz and my curiosity was stoked by the tale of Robert Stroud, a/k/a "The Birdman of Alcatraz." Tonight I watched the movie of the same name based on his life as a prisoner/ornithologist. After reading this brief bio it would seem, not surprisingly, that his character was polished up a bit for the film. From imdb:
Stroud was actually imprisoned in cell #42 located in the D Block. According to Frank Heaney, a former prison guard (1948-51), Stroud was anything but the sympathetic character as portrayed by Burt Lancaster. He was an extremely difficult and demented inmate who, though highly intelligent, was a villain and a psychopath.
A published jailhouse author whose work broke new ground in ornithological medicine, he was no doubt a brilliant man, but with some seriously violent tendencies. It's an amazing story, and a fine and inspiring film which earned Burt Lancaster an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.


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