Monday, October 24, 2011

TOP 300 MOVIES OF ALL TIME: #236 " I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG " (1932)

There are many fine supporting performances, but let's be clear: This is Paul Muni's masterpiece. It is a film and a role that still packs a punch to this day. It is also based on a true story. At the time of its filming, the inspiration was still in hiding.

Paul Muni is mistaken for having held up a store and is tried, convicted and sentenced to hard labor on a chain gang. He escapes, goes back north and becomes a successful businessman under an assumed name. He's exposed and foolishly convinced to return and finish his sentence on the premise that the prison system has been reformed. You can draw your own conclusions from that. 

It is directed by Mervyn Leroy and prompted cries to end chain gangs. A great movie and towering performances from one of the acting giants of any era by Paul Muni.

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