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Oscar Vault Monday – I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, 1932 (dir. Mervyn LeRoy)

I saw this film for the first time last November, when I was in the midst of Noirvember. While I would argue that this is more of a precursor to film noir, rather than actual film noir, it is nonetheless a really wonderful film. Of the handful of Paul Muni’s films that I’ve seen, it is most definitely my favorite of his performances. Muni is one of those actors who completely disappears into the roles he plays and, sadly, is not all that well-known these days. This film was nominated for three Academy Awards, though it didn’t win any: Best Sound, Best Actor and Best Picture. The other films nominated that year were 42nd Street, A Farewell to Arms, Lady for a Day, Little Women, The Private Life of Henry VIII., She Done Him Wrong, Smilin’ Through, State Fair and winner Cavalcade.

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