I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

Synopsis: Having returned from fighting in World War I, James Allen doesn't want to settle into a humdrum life and decides to set off to find his fortune. He travels the length and breadth of America, working as a skilled tradesman in the construction industry. When times get tough however, he finds himself living in a shelter where an acquaintance suggests they go out for a hamburger. What the friend really has in mind is to rob the diner and Allen soon finds himself working on a chain gang with a long jail sentence. Allen manages to escape however and heads to Chicago where over several years he slowly but surely works his way up the ladder to become one of the most respected construction engineers in the city. His past catches up with him and despite protestations from civic leaders and his many friends in Chicago, he finds himself again on the chain gang. Escaping for a second time, he accepts that to survive, he must lead a life of crime.
Director(s): Mervyn LeRoy
Production: Vitaphone Corporation
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

my boy would be working there again.

We've moved things around quite a bit.

This is a lot nicer

than the old shipping room, isn't it?

You'll sit by this window

and check the shipments.

The job's just about the same.

Before you know it, you'll be doing it again

with your eyes shut.

They're excavating. I shouldn't think

that would scare you.

I was looking for the nearest dugout.

You'll hear lots of those explosions.

They're building a new bridge over there.

Better get busy

and file those bills of lading.

Yes, sir.

It might do some good

if you had another talk with Jim.

I certainly intend to.

Parker's given him a job anyone in town

would grab, and what does he do?

Checks in day after day late from lunch.

Loitering around that new bridge

for no reason at all.

He'll come out of it...

but it worries me, too.

Is that you, Jim?

It's me, Mom.

Maybe you could speak to him now.

- Hello, Clint.

- You're quite a stranger here.

- Had your supper?

- No, I'm not hungry.

- But you should have a bite of something.

- I can't, Mom. I don't feel like it.

Well, anyway, sit down.

I want to talk to you.

Jim, Mr. Parker's very disappointed in you.

You haven't shown him anything.

You know your duty is to your job.

I know it, but I just can't help it.

Maybe you're not well, dear.

It isn't that, Mom. I'm all right.

I try my best when I get there,

but I just can't concentrate.

It's not the kind of work I want to do.

I said so when I came home.

It's too monotonous.

But you don't seem to realize...

That's it, realize. No one seems to realize

that I have changed. I'm different now.

I've been through hell.

Folks here are concerned with my uniform,

how I dance.

I'm out of step with everybody.

All this while I was hoping to come home

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