I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932). 93 minutes. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Starring Paul Muni (as James Allen), Glenda Farrell (as Marie), Helen Vinson (as Helen), Preston Foster (as Pete), and Allen Jenkins (as Barney Sykes). Based on the memoir by Robert Elliott Burns.
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is notable for being an early Hollywood social commentary film. Based on the memoir by Robert Elliott Burns, it tells the story of Burns (called James Allen in the movie), who after serving in World War One returns home to the United States with the dream of becoming a civil engineer but ends up doing hard time in a forced labor camp. The subject of forced labor had appeared in theaters previously in, among other things, a popular Disney short starring Mickey Mouse (“The Chain Gang,” 1930), and the 1932 movie based on Burns’s life was soon parodied in a short musical comedy (“20,000 Cheers … Read the rest
Scarface (1932). 94 minutes. Directed by Howard Hawks. Starring Paul Muni (as Tony Camonte), Osgood Perkins (as Johnny Lovo), George Raft (as Guino Rinaldo), Boris Karloff (as Gaffney), Ann Dvorak (as Cesca Camonte), and Karen Morley (as Poppy). Produced by Howard Hughes.
“Oh, I knew Luciano and Costello, and even Capone, and lesser lights. It was easy to be in movies and not know them, but almost impossible to be in show business—Broadway—without knowing them, unless you never went out at night to a nightclub and never knew anybody in any form of show business. Unless you were the Lunts or Katharine Cornell, it was virtually impossible not to get to know them—they were so anxious for you to. Capone used to take four rows at the opening night for every play in Chicago and come backstage and see everybody. You couldn’t get to a nightclub without Costello sending over a bottle of champagne, or sit in Lindy’s without Luciano … Read the rest