Clip from the film Birdman of Alcatraz 
The original film is 2:28:41 long. This clip is from 1:56:34 – 2:04:02 in the original film.
Observations on the most important and
critical scene in the entire story of the film
The scene is what is called the ‘worth the price of admission scene’ because it tells the world bluntly and truthfully what this world is about and has always been about: power and control.
Will the world ever change?
PRIEST = Religion (played by George Mitchell as Father Matthieu)
WARDEN = Society, represented by Government (played by Karl Malden as Harvey Shoemaker)
PRISONER = The INDIVIDUAL human soul, INDIVIDUAL mind, INDIVIDUAL body on this physical planet (played by Burt Lancaster as Robert Franklin Stroud)
(Note: In real life, Robert Stroud, as portrayed by Burt Lancaster, was a notorious psychopathic homosexual. I wonder why he was psychopathic? Hasn’t the world always treated homosexuals so well?)
The scene opens with:
Prisoner talking to Religion – “I’m going to wallop you today!”
Prisoner talks to Religion about the book he’s going to write.
Prisoner tells Religion exactly what the book is about, the truth he has seen in his prison life.
Religion warns Prisoner of the risk involved of publishing such a book.
Prisoner tells Religion, everything is a risk in this world, especially after living in the manure pile of the world has created while Religion / Government / Society has looked on.
Prisoner returns to his cell, only to find Government/Society is already there looking at his book. Who informed the Government/Society that the Prisoner was writing the book?
Government/Society informs Prisoner that it is confiscating the book. The Prisoner asks two questions?
“Have you read it?” “What do you think of it?”
Government/Society and Prisoner discuss the “advancements” in the treatment of Prisoners and the “reforms” prison life has undergone.
Government/Society accuses Prisoner of not having changed and threatens the Prisoner.
Government/Society asks the brazen question: “Do you think I want to punish you?”
This shows that Government/Society is blind and brutal.
Government’s/Society’s answer is that the Prisoner has only shown defiance and not once has he shown a sign of rehabilitation (meaning conformity).
Prisoner defines the word ‘rehabilitation’: “To invest again with dignity.”
Prisoner asks question to the Government/Society: “Do you think it’s part of your job to give a man back the dignity he once had?”
Prisoner states that the Government’s/Society’s only worry is:
1. How he, the prisoner, behaves.
2. Governments and Society want their puppets (we, the controlled individuals) to dance on a string with rubber stamp values (approval from Government and Society, the elite, impressed upon us, the puppets) with their sense of conformity, their sense of behavior.
That is why this world is a complete failure. We can see it and we know it deep down in our very souls.
3. The Prisoner states that Government and Society robs the Individual of the most important thing in their lives, their INDIVIDUALITY.
On the outside, individuals are lost automatons just going through the motions of living but underneath there is a deep, deep hatred for what the Government and Society have done to them. The first chance individuals get to attack Government and Society they do it. The result, more than half of prisoners go back to prison (as described in the film clip). In other words, people, in general, will return to conformity (their own internal prison) because of the impossibility to be an individual in society. In other words most give up, most conform. No one wants to make waves.
Government/Society then changes the subject to its own aches and pains in life.
Prisoner asks softly and kindly: “Where does it hurt you?”
Response from Government: “In my left shoulder and down my arms.”
Prisoner: “You should have a medical checkup.”
End of scene.
The physical pains as expressed by Government/Society are not related only to physical problems in their duties but to the spiritual pains that the Government/Society suffers for its own brutality, as manifested in its body elect, who do the ‘dirty work’ for Society at large, such as wars and in the prison industry among other ‘dirty jobs’ that “have to be done”. Government/Society thinks for a moment at the end of the scene and then leaves the difficult situation as it always does. The same problems of this world are never really resolved and viable solutions are really never found. The world we have is the world that the Earthly Human Powers want, a world of power, control, and accumulation of wealth only for the few. That is how this world has been since the beginning of recorded history and since humanity began.
The clip ends where the Prisoner sits alone in his cell (the cell of mind) and then the doors of his cell are closed by a foot soldier of the Government/Society to keep controversy controlled and to keep individuality limited. Those who are not conformists are always put away and are isolated somewhere or somehow, physically or mentally, so that the Government/Society doesn’t have to deal with INDIVIDUALITY. Snowden and Assange are cases in point. They dared to show the world the deeds being done in the name of the Government and instead of the Government defending the truth, it reacted by condemning them publicly and calling them traitors.
Such is life on this absolutely wonderful planet inhabited by such considerate and thoughtful leaders!