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Movies: “Birdman of Alcatraz”

July 3, 1962 - Today’s new film is “Birdman of Alcatraz,” a biographical drama film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Burt Lancaster. It is a largely fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud (pictured in the 1920s), sentenced to solitary confinement after having killed a prison guard. A federal prison inmate, he became known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" because of his studies of birds, which had actually taken place when he was incarcerated at Leavenworth. When moved to Alcatraz in 1942, Stroud was never allowed to keep any birds. Stroud, 71 years old, is currently incarcerated at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. The film was adapted by Guy Trosper from the 1955 book by Thomas E. Gaddis. Also in the cast are Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand, Edmond O’Brien, and Telly Savalas.


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