I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
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Top Customer Reviews
James Allen (Paul Muni) is a World War I veteran returning home with high hopes of putting the engineering skills he learned in the Army to civilian use. He takes a factory job, but is reluctant to replace the routine of the military with that of the factory. So he travels the country in search of construction work but has trouble making ends meet. One evening, he accompanies an acquaintance to a lunch wagon for a hamburger.Read more ›
The Cinematography was especially compelling, it was so incredible to look it that I could care less if they reused the chain gang sets and guards. I loved the passage of time, with the calenders falling away to the beat of sledgehammers. And the final shot elevated the film to an even higher plane of achievment. Extremely gutsy to end the film on the line it ends on as Paul Muni backs into shadow, beautifully done, a perfect ending.
The man, whose real name was Burns, lived quite awhile in New Jersey, wrote the book with this same title, even smuggled himself into Los Angeles for two weeks to help with the movie, using an assumed name and acting very skittish. He then went back to New Jersey. The state of Georgia, home of these chain gangs, tried to extradite him but New Jersey wouldn't give him up.
Regarding the film........
"Powerful" was a word describing this movie when it came out over 70 years ago, and it still holds true today. It was based on a true story and if injustice bothers you, this film will be disturbing. It certainly was to me, at least the first time I saw it.
I've seen it several times and am always mesmerized by Paul Muni's performance. Just the expressions on his face alone are fascinating. The other members of the cast are so-so, but it's Muni's movie anyway. Great to have it on DVD, too!
James Allen, returns from WWI a changed man. Working as an engineer in the military has given him dreams for something more than his brother expects from him. Only his mother understands and gives him her blessing to go out into the world and find himself. So he sets off to work in construction to build, traveling all across the country from job to job.
Times are lean in the depression and when Preston Foster offers to mooch a hamburger for him he can not refuse. But Foster pulls a gun and forces Allen to help him rob the diner. He is killed during the robbery by the police and Allen is unjustly sentenced to 10 years in the chain gangs of the deep south. The brutality and demoralization of the human spirit is more than he can bear and with a little help from his friend (nicely played by Edward Ellis) he plans a successful escape. He manages to avoid the police and changes his name to Allen James.
In her brief screen time, Noel Francis as Linda, a speakeasy girl, gives a touching performance, offering a little humanity and love back to James. He seems to have a fresh start and slowly works his way up in construction to become a prominent and respected member of the community, helping Chicago become a great city.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good solid film that's a little melodramatic, even for the time it was made, but is still highly provocative even though it has a kind of plain flavor to it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Raisuli the Magnificent
This movie would have been a great movie however the DVD I bought stopped playing about 1/3rd the way though on 2 different DVD players.Published 3 months ago by Kirk J. Frank
A classic film about a true event that led to changes in the prison system.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of those movies that is difficult for me to rate because of how dated it is. Great story with alot of suspense this 90 minute movie needed at least 120 minutes to fully... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Stephen P. Collins
The service was excellent, and the movie was interesting to watch. It is a real classic. Again, the seller was excellent.Published 5 months ago by Joe Weaver
This one is an oldie but goodie, it goes by fast and is an easy watch. The ending is particularly beautifully done and clever. Give it a shot!Published 6 months ago by D. S. Howes
What makes me want to read this before bedtime is its ability to cloud my mind easily.. to the point that I'm too stressed out to stay awake. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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