MovieChat Forums > Knock on Any Door (1949) Discussion > Been to any good BURLAP PARTIES lately?

Been to any good BURLAP PARTIES lately?

What the heck was that supposed to be? Imagine the surprise when my friend asked aloud, "Did he just say burlap party?" and Bogart immediately replied with "yes, I said burlap party."

impressed at how the movie literally responded to a question, we attempted to ask the movie to explain what a burlap party was, but didn't get a satisfactory answer and Bogart failed to deliver, so we are consulting here.

we saw rags, water hoses, water spraying, soaking wet people but were unable to discern what the whole thing was about.

so, pray tell, what is a burlap party?


It seems to be just what it says it is -- a party favor on burlap. A strange sounding thing indeed, but rather ordinary in actuality. Or, it might be a referrence to the sequel to this which starred Burl Ives. Anyone want a Burl Ives party? Sounds screwy.

Nothing is more beautiful than nothing.


Watching the movie again, the question of what a burlap party is once again laid heavily on my mind. Bogart still didn't explain it to me. So I searched the internet and using what I found, in context with the following scene, I believe I know what it is. I will share with all who are curious enough to check out this thread.

As a form of disciplinary action, a room, usually in the cellar of a jail or reform school was flooded with cold water. The ones to be disciplined were sent below into the flooded room w/ a pile of burlap bags and pails and told to clean it up. They soaked the bags and wrung them out in the pails. This was a long, cold, wet process and very tiring. This was called a burlap party or by another name, a burlap brigade.


John Derek's character Romano appears quite upset at the very term 'burlap party' in the court room. in the following flashback scene we see what a burlap party really is and who is enjoying this party and at whose expense.

your definition refers to a 'disciplinary action' but fails to mention its true brutally sadistic nature. you make it sound like those being 'disciplined' were merely washing the floor with cold water. did you get this from some state penitentiary acceptable 'disciplinary action' textbook?

"but we were unable to discern what the whole thing was about"....really? the 'whole thing' is about sadistic prison guards getting their kicks with a 'disciplinary action' against prison inmates.

KOAD is a social commentary written to inform the audience of these types of counter-productive 'disciplinary actions' employed by the prison system to show that they do more harm than good.

"only one food for the rest of my life? That's easy, cherry-flavored Pez. No question about it."


Nick is upset being reminded of the 'burlap party', because it was one of these that caused his friend to contract pneumonia and die.


It's the same kind of statement as a "Wet Parade"; few know what that is anymore, either. Something lost to the supposed "good old days".

To understand is the opposite of existing.


Calm down, Nick. We realize you were treated badly, but you're being too hard on the OP.