6.3/10
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10 user 3 critic

Road Gang (1936)

Approved | | Drama | 28 March 1936 (USA)
Jim Larrabie and Bob Gordon, two reporters, are sent to prison on bogus charges after exposing the corrupt practices of J.W. Moett and Dudley. The two suffer extreme cruelty due to the sadistic behavior of the warden and guards.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
James 'Jim' Larrabie
...
Barbara Winston
...
Robert 'Bob' Gordon
...
Harry Shields (editor)
...
George Winston
...
J.W. Moett (changed from Metcalfe) (as Joseph King)
...
Warden Parmenter
...
Mine Warden Grayson
...
Doctor
...
Atty. Gen. Marsden (as William Davidson)
...
Sam Dawson (guard with whip)
...
Pete (friendly convict)
Eddie Shubert ...
Buck Draper
...
Mr. Dudley (lawyer) (as Ed Van Sloan)
Ben Hendricks Jr. ...
Jake (motorcycle cop) (as Ben Hendricks)
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Storyline

Jim Larrabie and Bob Gordon, two reporters, are sent to prison on bogus charges after exposing the corrupt practices of J.W. Moett and Dudley. The two suffer extreme cruelty due to the sadistic behavior of the warden and guards.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're Fugitives From a ROAD GANG ... and They'll Never Go Back Alive!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 March 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Condenados ao Inferno  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character played by Joe King is shown in the opening credits as Moett. On the TCM print every time this character is mentioned it's clear the actors are saying Metcalf even though the sound drops out as if being censored. See more »

Quotes

Robert 'Bob' Gordon: It's funny... darkies can always find something to sing about.
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Soundtracks

Lullaby of Broadway
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Hummed by Donald Woods and Carlyle Moore Jr.
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User Reviews

 
Good Touches but Lacks Needed Intensity
14 September 2013 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

A reporter uncovers a network of corruption that extends to the penthouses and prisons of a southern state.

MGM may have gussied up the Depression era with glamorous escapism, but not so Warner Bros. WB liked to say their stories were ripped from the headlines of the day. Their writers operated from street level and not the penthouse top, as this programmer clearly shows. Prison conditions could be abominable at a time when tax monies had dried up along with businesses. Thus prison movies like the best known one, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (932), were popular with straitened audiences of the day.

There are many good touches in Road Gang—the pin-pricked message, the tumbling coal stope, the artful safe-cracker. Note too, how the scheme reporter Larrabee (Woods) uncovers goes all the way to the top. I'm sure audiences of the day enjoyed indicting the rich and powerful. Nonetheless, the movie lacks the fire needed to lift it from the merely routine. Woods is sturdy and likable, but lacks the intensity needed to drive the plot in a memorable way. Also, that superb villain Charles Middleton (mine boss) curiously underplays his key role, such that no sparks are lit there, either. My guess is that director King was not much engaged with the material. His story direction is competent, but nothing more. Thus the narrative unfolds in interesting but not gripping fashion, which I suspect is why it's omitted from Maltin's film guide. Too bad WB didn't get Cagney for the lead role or Mike Curtiz to direct it.


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