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Movies about prisons and prisoners have captivated American audiences for most of a century, having first appeared during the Great Depression. For many law-abiding viewers, such movies offer a unique view of a frightening unknown place. Prison films also create useful microcosms to examine vexing social issues.
These ideas are explored in “Prison Movies: Cinema Behind Bars,” a new textbook by Dr. Kevin Kehrwald, professor of English and coordinator of the Film Studies program at Frostburg State University.