Released – November, 1932
Directed By – Mervyn LeRoy
Starring – Paul Muni (James Allen), Glenda Farrell (Marie Woods), Helen Vinson (Helen), Noel Francis (Linda), Preston Foster (Pete).
Description – Six stickes of dynamite that blasted his way to freedom…and awoke America’s conscience!
James Allen has been wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years on a chaing 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 meet 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: This film was nominated for three Academy Awards; Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Sound, Recording.
In 1991 this motion picture 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.