A late '50s upgrade of the 1931 film by the same title, this version of trouble on death row by Howard Koch is more violent than its predecessor -- a hint of the trend toward shock for its own sake that would one day dominate action films and thrillers. The setting is a cell block of nine inmates scheduled for execution and the first half of the drama focuses on the horror of that last walk. A grim death in the electric chair is in no way glossed over. All nine prisoners are more appealing than any single guard, giving rise to the question of whether or not the men should exchange places. Then "Killer" John Mears (Mickey Rooney) comes along. His vicious attitude infects the environment and his plans to break out of prison are the catalyst for tragedy.