Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

A WWI vet (Paul Muni) with ambitions of being an architect yet caught in the realities of the Depression becomes an unwitting accomplice in a diner holdup and is sentenced by an unsympathetic Southern justice system to hard time at a work camp. Enduring grueling conditions, he makes a daring escape and resettles in Chicago where he makes a name for himself but finds his past continuing to haunt him. Watching "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang", a pre-code film from Warner Bros, I realized just how much "Cool Hand Luke", romanticized and tame in comparison, owes to it. Muni delivers a heart rending, on-the-level performance in this bleak and visceral movie.