IMDb > I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
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I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) More at IMDbPro »

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I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang -- Trailer for this classic action drama

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   8,127 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Robert E. Burns (by)
Howard J. Green (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 November 1932 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Six sticks of dynamite that blasted his way to freedom... and awoke America's conscience!
Plot:
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Gutsy, and hard to forget See more (299 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Muni ... James Allen
Glenda Farrell ... Marie
Helen Vinson ... Helen
Noel Francis ... Linda
Preston Foster ... Pete

Allen Jenkins ... Barney Sykes
Berton Churchill ... The Judge
Edward Ellis ... Bomber Wells
David Landau ... The Warden
Hale Hamilton ... Rev. Allen

Sally Blane ... Alice
Louise Carter ... Mother
Willard Robertson ... Prison Board Chairman
Robert McWade ... Attorney
Robert Warwick ... Fuller
William Le Maire ... A Texan (as William LeMaire)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Erville Alderson ... Police Chief (uncredited)
Irving Bacon ... Bill (uncredited)
Reginald Barlow ... Parker (uncredited)
James Bell ... Red (uncredited)
Everett Brown ... Sebastian T. Yale (uncredited)
Frederick Burton ... Southern Prison Official (uncredited)
A.S. 'Pop' Byron ... Cop in Barbershop (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Job Foreman (uncredited)
Wallis Clark ... Chicago Lawyer (uncredited)

G. Pat Collins ... Wilson (uncredited)
George Cooper ... Vaudevillian (uncredited)
Jack Curtis ... Prison Guard (uncredited)

Douglass Dumbrille ... District Attorney (uncredited)
J. Frank Glendon ... Arresting Officer (uncredited)
Lew Kelly ... Diner Cook (uncredited)
Jack La Rue ... Ackerman (uncredited)
Edward LeSaint ... Chamber of Commerce Chairman (uncredited)
Walter Long ... Blacksmith (uncredited)
Jack Low ... Big Prisoner (uncredited)
John Marston ... Prison Commissioner (uncredited)
Charles McAvoy ... Cop (uncredited)
Edward McNamara ... 2nd Warden (uncredited)

Charles Middleton ... Train Conductor (uncredited)
Dennis O'Keefe ... Café Chateau Dancer (uncredited)
William Pawley ... Doggy (uncredited)
Charles Sellon ... Hot-Dog Stand Owner (uncredited)
Allen D. Sewall ... Train Station Guard (uncredited)
Lee Shumway ... Arresting Officer (uncredited)
William H. Strauss ... Pawnbroker (uncredited)
Sheila Terry ... Allen's Secretary (uncredited)
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ... Marine on Ship (uncredited)
Jack Wise ... Tailor (uncredited)
Harry Woods ... Prison Guard (uncredited)

John Wray ... Nordine (uncredited)

Directed by
Mervyn LeRoy 
 
Writing credits
Robert E. Burns (by)

Howard J. Green (screen play) &
Brown Holmes (screen play)

Sheridan Gibney  screen play (uncredited)

Produced by
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Sol Polito (photography)
 
Film Editing by
William Holmes (edited by)
 
Art Direction by
Jack Okey 
 
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Al Alleborn .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert H. Wagner .... camera operator (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
 
Other crew
S.H. Sullivan .... technical director
Robert E. Burns .... consultant (uncredited)
S. Charles Einfeld .... general press agent (uncredited)
Jack Miller .... technical director (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
92 min (Turner library print)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (original release)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 (1946) | Finland:(Banned) (1933) | Norway:16 (1933) | Sweden:15 (cut) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (certificate number not assigned at release) | USA:Approved (re-release: PCA #2647-R, 3 September 1936) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film caused a lot of controversy, actually leading to the pardon of its main character, Robert Elliot Burns, who was still on the lam when the film first hit theaters.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: Calendar pages flip several times in the film and it is always the same calendar even though the events of the story unfold over the course of many years. The first calendar flipping should be 1923 or 1924. The next is in 1929/30. The last flipping is likely intended to be 1930/31. In all cases, a 1932 (could be 1904, but due to the date of the film, 1932 is more likely) calendar is used. In two instances, the date flips from December to January and in both instances Jan 1 falls on the wrong day. Instead of using a 1933 calendar for January, they simply used the same 1932 calendar.See more »
Quotes:
[last lines]
Helen:How do you live?
James Allen:I steal.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
St. Louis BluesSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
33 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
Gutsy, and hard to forget, 14 March 2003
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA

It took some courage to make this movie, and Warner Brothers was up to it. This is one of four such productions on the early 1930s that dealt with crime naturalistically. But the others -- "Public Enemy," "Little Caesar," and "Scarface" -- although investing the protagonists with recognizably human traits like jealousy or male bonding -- were nevertheless on the side of the state. Okay, he might love his Mamma, but he's still a menace to society. They all died violently in the end. Here, on the other hand, is a story in which the protagonist is completely innocent, guilty of nothing more than wanting to strike out on his own and accomplish something constructive after having been through hell in the army in World War I.

The state -- Georgia -- convicts him in error. He was forced into participating in the crime by a stranger, although to be sure he acted guilty enough. And, what with the real James Allen acting as consultant, and the film being based on his autobiographical book, who can really tell how unwilling a participant he was?

Still, the point of the movie is that even if were guilty of robbery, the punishment imposed by the state, the conditions at the chain gang, were inhuman. Let's say many sensible people would consider it "cruel and unusual." So Allen escapes the first time, just as Cool Hand Luke did. According to the movie he rises to prominence as a self-taught engineer, although, again, the point would remain the same even if he never rose above the station of busboy. Coerced into marriage by a domineering, greedy, and self-indulgent wife (whose autobiographical novel should have been a companion piece to Allen's), he finds himself falling for a "nice girl".

But his past catches up with him. His wife betrays him out of spite. The governor of Illinois is understandably reluctant to extradite a prominent citizen who has shown how socially valuable he is, but the representatives of Georgia insist on a symbolic retribution. Return to Georgia voluntarily, says the soothing, expensive Georgian. There'll be only a token service of, say, 90 days in a cushy job, then you'll be pardoned. Alas, he's thrown into an even more horrific penal servitude and his hearing is suspended indefinitely. So he pulls Cool Hand Luke's Excape Number Two, right down to the admiring companion who jumps aboard the truck with him.

This time there is no going back, at least not according to the movie. The final shot is heartbreaking. I don't know how much of this story can be believed insofar as Allen's character is concerned. Suppose you were to write an autobiography. Might you not come out looking a little better than you actually are? Oh, that God the giftie gie' us/ to see ourselves as others see us. But I believe the chain gang sequences allright. If Allen is fibbing about that, he's still done a good job of convincing me that these conditions were real. I've worked with Corrections Officers and while they might be tough and contemptuous towards inmates, they treated them fairly. But I can believe things were quite different in 1925 in Georgia. The South has an interesting way of dealing with deviance. Southerners tend to be polite, compassionate, and helpful. They go out of their way to be friendly -- until you break an important rule. Then you forfeit any claim to humane treatment. (You want to be executed? Murder somebody in Texas or Florida.)

In the course of the 1960s, the state became as much of an enemy as the criminal himself -- maybe moreso. But this movie was released in 1932, a time at which it still took guts to depict a social system so thoroughly corrupt and sadistict.

Catch this one, if you can.

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