Friday, April 3, 2009

Review: I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang

Paul Muni gives a powerful Oscar nominated performance in this gritty prison drama that hasn't dated a bit in over 75 years. Unjustly convicted and sentenced war veteran James Allen (Muni) is thrust into the nightmare that is prison life on a southern chain gang circa 1930. From the beginning of the film to the stark, haunting finale, Paul Muni packs a dramatic wallop.

Glenda Farrell is especially nasty as the vengeful, manipulative female with whom the escaped Muni gets involved. Preston Foster also has an interesting role as a tramp Muni meets up with on the road.

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang is a realistic look at the brutal conditions and harsh life of those who find themselves bound in an iron brotherhood. It is the type of film that Warner Brothers perfected in the 1930's along with Muni's Scarface displaying the darker, seedier side of society.


  1. A great movie. I recall a story about the last shot of the movie, where Muni is backing away from the camera and the screen goes black when we hear him say the line, "I steal!" Apparently a light or lights blew at that moment, accidentally. It was decided upon reviewing the footage that this was more effective, so it was left in.

  2. Yes, Jacqueline, that's the way I understand the ending came about. A really chilling ending to a compelling film. I mean he came through so much and then to end on such a note.



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