Skip to main content

ON THE YARD

USA, 1978 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Raphael D. Silver

Raphael D. Silver is the husband of Joan Micklin Silver, who directed Hester Street and Bernice Bobs Her Hair (shown in the 1977 Festival), and produced On the Yard. It is his first film as a director.

The story interweaves the situations of a number of prisoners doing time in a state penitentiary. Chilly is the top man, organising the various operations managed by the inmates. His right-hand men are Red, Nunn and Gasoline Morris, Chilly's errand boy, spends every night sewing an escape balloon — more a dream than a possible means of getting out.

Juleson, chief clerk in the job department, remains outside the activities of the others, until his supply of cigarettes runs out and he goes to Chilly. With the prison officials bearing down on him, and his rival Tate gaining more power, Chilly pressures Juleson to give Nunn a job. He refuses, and is beaten up by Gasolino, who is shot by a warden.

Chilly uses the psychopathic Stick, who is urging Morris to complete his balloon, to get back at Juleson.

During fight night, Stick attempts to fly over the wall in the balloon. In the ensuing struggle with other prisoners, his place is taken by Red, and it seems as if one of the inmates may have finally realised the dream of escape . . .

On the Yard was filmed with actual prisoners and officials in many minor roles. The author of the screenplay, Malcolm Brafy, spent twenty years in jail.

See also...

Hard Work

A record of the second Hookers' Convention in Washington, and a portrait of Margo St James an ex-hooker, who campaigns to decriminalise prostitution. ... More »

Dance Frame

Overlapping video images allow for the exploration of a number of opposites, the most interesting being that of the flowing movements of the dancer's body against the fixed geometric fields of the ... More »

CALLAS

Callas is a 90-minute documentary- ... performance film, which examines the ... artist as legend. A loving tribute in honour of her 55th birthday, the programme ... is the first full assessment of ... More »

Advance to Go

The World Championship of Monopoly is held — appropriately — in Monte Carlo This film gives an account of the 1978 event. ... More »

WILMINGTON 10 - USA 10,000

During racial disorders in Wilmington, South Carolina, in 1971, a group of black militants, led by Ben Chavis, according to witnesses, had organised armed forays, sniping and firebombings from a ... More »

The Joycelin Shrager Story

The filmed biography of Joycelin Shrager, a mythical, appallingly incompetent woman director, whose obsession with film pervades her whole existence. ... Gold Medallion, Miami. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director