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In the movie The Rock Mason said he timed the flame bursts to work his way through, however, how was he able to do this without being caught?

I highly doubt that he observed the flames just once, he probably visited the boiler discretely to determine that there is a pattern, and lucky that the flames followed this pattern rather than burst randomly.

When the prison was functional, I doubt they would leave the door unguarded. Logically, they would've had a human guard or a camera.

This IMDb says:

When Mason is with the troops in the basement of Alcatraz, he states that he studied the timing of the boiler that he must roll through. The question has often been asked why he wouldn't then just be able to open the door during his original escape. However, when Alcatraz was functional, the door may well have been guarded or locked from the other side.

The door that's supposedly guarded is also next to the boiler with all the flames. The guard would literally have to be asleep to miss that Mason has gone into the boiler. If you can make it into the boiler, why not steal a key and open the door rather than risk being killed by fire?

I found this post that somewhat answers why he didn't go through the door the first time but it doesn't answer how he observed and timed the flames without being caught, or why he didn't steal a key, to prevent the alarm from going off, to escape.

  • Can someone explain the downvote? I did my research, and linked to it! I'm asking a question that is reasonable given the movie. – user60500 Jan 11 '18 at 16:54
  • Some people downvote or vote to close simply because they don't have the answer or don't know the movie in question well enough to know if it was ever explained, and they believe it to be more of a rant than a question. To be fair, however, if this is a known plot hole and the question is merely to ask the obvious "why does this plot hole exits?", it will get downvoted. Personally, I don't remember the movie well enough to answer this question, but perhaps I'll watch it tonite to see if a logical reason exists. – Johnny Bones Jan 11 '18 at 18:09
  • @JohnnyBones - Not to go off topic, but, if people don't know the movie or don't have an answer, can't they just leave the question without down voting it? My question is logical and I've done my research but couldn't find an answer. It isn't as if I'm asking a question that has been answered on this site or by the movie. The movie just presents a situation, but the best answer I could come up with is, the writer didn't think it through, in-universe explanation? Well, this is why I'm asking. – user60500 Jan 11 '18 at 18:28

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