I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG

(1932)
With Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson, Preston S. Foster, Noel Francis, David Landau
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     A remarkably sophisticated film in terms of both style and content for 1932, I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG has lost none of its power over time.  As grim as it is gripping, the film follows the plight of James Allen (Paul Muni), a World War I vet reduced by circumstances to the life of a drifter.  Framed for a petty theft, he is sentenced to hard labor on a brutal southern chain gang, from which he escapes twice in two of the film's most suspense-charged sequences.  A film that couldn't have been made two years later with the onset of the Production Code.  Muni, an actor known for his elaborate-makeup historical roles, was really at his best without the prosthetics, as here and in SCARFACE5 - JL

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