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Hollywood Movie Memories » 1930’s film noir

Posts Tagged ‘1930’s film noir’


Thursday, October 20th, 2011


Tagline – Two Lovers…Victim’s of Mob Violence!

Starring – Sylvia Sidney (Katherine Grant), Spencer Tracy (Joe Wilson), Walter Abel (District Attorney), Bruce Cabot (Kirby Dawson).

Released – May, 1936

Directed By – Fritz Lang

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Joe Wilson is in the wrong place at the wrong time. A child has been kidnapped from a town that Joe is passing through on his way to meet his fiance Katherine Grant. As a stranger to the area, with a small shred of circumstantial evidence pointing his way, Joe is arrested for the crime.

The town is buzzing about the stranger in their jail and rumors surrounding the story are getting more exaggerated as they spread. It isn’t long before a mob gathers in front of the jail demanding the prisoner. They intend to hang him.

When the sheriff refuses to turn Joe over to the angry mob they decide to burn the building. It is believed that Joe has died in the fire.

Enraged at the mob’s lawlessness, the district attorney is determined to bring them to justice. Although no one will come forward to identify the members of the mob and the case against them seem hopeless.

Then there is a major break. The prosecutor obtains newsreel footage that clearly displays twenty-two members of the mob. The defense counters that there is no solid proof that Joe was killed in the fire as no burned body was found.

But, there is one piece of defense evidence that troubles Katherine. An anonymous letter has been received with a partially melted ring worn by Joe. The letter has a misspelled word. Misspelled the same way Joe used to misspell it.

It seems to Katherine that Joe may somehow be still alive. Katherine learns that Joe and his brothers have a plan for revenge. The once civilized man is now angry, bitter, and determined to make his would-be killers pay.

NOTABLE: Fury received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Story.

In 1995, Fury was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

This film was director Fritz Lang’s first American picture as well as a departure from the usual film’s being produced by MGM at the time. The studio was primarily making lavish musicals and dramas.

The dog taken out of the rain by Spencer Tracy in the beginning of the film to become his traveling companion was named Terry. He would become familiar to everyone in a few years as Toto from The Wizard of Oz.

The script was loosely based on the 1933 real-life kidnapping and murder of Brooke Hart in San Jose, California. The two suspects in the crime were pulled from jail by a mob who dragged them across the street and lynched them.


I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang

Tagline – Six sticks of dynamite that blasted his way to freedom… and awoke America’s conscience!

Starring – Paul Muni (James Allen), Glenda Farrell (Marie Woods), Helen Vinson (Helen), Noel Francis (Linda), Preston Foster (Pete).

Released – November, 1932

Directed By – Mervyn LeRoy

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – James Allen has been wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years on a chain gang. He manages to escape to Chicago hoping to remain undetected.

James finds success in the construction business and begins a relationship with boardinghouse proprietor Marie Woods. Marie learns of his secret and blackmails him into marriage. With unhappiness back into his life, James gets lucky and meets and falls in love with Helen.

However, his luck does not last long. James asks Marie for a divorce only to be promptly betrayed by her to the authorities. The only life left for James is alone and on the run.

NOTABLE: I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang was nominated for three Academy Awards – Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Muni), and Best Sound, Recording.

In 1991, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang was selected for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry.

The film was written by Howard J. Green and Brown Holmes from Robert Elliott Burns’s autobiography, I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang.

Personal Comment:  An excellent film with a haunting ending that still stuns today. The brutality of a corrupt court, as portrayed in this film, caused such public concern regarding the legitimacy of America’s legal system that it allowed for a number of nationwide chain gang prisoners to appeal their convictions and gain release.