I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang ★★★★½

My first Mervyn LeRoy. Surprisingly stylish! This movie uses the same calendar trick that Hawkes uses in Scarface, except instead of a tommy gun rattling off it’s superimposed over manual labor.

Interesting how this movie has the same state betrays you twist as Don Siegel’s 1954 Riot in Cell Block 11, and it’s just as maddening here. I also see a lot of Cool Hand Luke here too, though Muni isn’t as well drawn, and we only meet and get to know one or two prisoners.

There’s a very tense thriller moment that has my favorite line, where after escaping Paul Muni is getting his beard shaved, and a police officer looking for him comes in to wait in line. As he leaves, the barber asks about his shave.

“How was it? Close enough?” 

“Plenty.”

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