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They Made Me a Fugitive
They Made Me a Fugitive
Actors: Sally Gray, Trevor Howard, Griffith Jones, René Ray, Mary Merrall
Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 18min

This is one of the rare British films that really capture the attitude as well as the shadowy style of American film noir. Trevor Howard stars as Clem, an ex-serviceman bored with civilian life who joins a gang of black ma...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sally Gray, Trevor Howard, Griffith Jones, René Ray, Mary Merrall
Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
Creators: Otto Heller, Margery Saunders, James A. Carter, Nat A. Bronstein, Noel Langley, Jackson Budd
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Indie & Art House, Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2003
Original Release Date: 03/06/1948
Theatrical Release Date: 03/06/1948
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 18min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Brit noir
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 09/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Hooray for Kino on Video for continuing to locate and digitize the best available prints of often forgotten but entertaining American and international films. American film noir style from Britain? THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE (1947) stars Trevor Howard as a lighthearted but bored ex-GI who -- mainly for fun and money -- joins a gang of racketeers. But when he challenges his sadistic boss, he's framed for murder and put in the slammer. Now hateful and bitter, he breaks out of prison and heads to London on a rage-filled mission of revenge. The no-nonsense direction by Alberto Cavalcanti and Otto Heller's brooding, atmospheric cinematography enhance the taught script from playright Noel Langley (he wrote the Wizard of Oz screenplay). A terrific movie. Intelligent, provocative and intense."
An excellent British crime noir-drama
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Purchased on a whim, this release has been sitting on my shelf for quite awhile before I got around to watching it. I don't know, maybe the title seemed too sensationalistic for me to have taken it seriously, but don't let that stop you. They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) is an superior British film noir classic that is well worth your time.

Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, or, Cavalcanti, as he is credited on screen and starring Trevor Howard who also starred in other films like The Third Man (1949), Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and Von Ryan's Express (1965), to name a few. Also starring is the very attractive Sally Gray, a leading lady in 30's British cinema. The story was adapted by Noel Langley, who also wrote The Wizard of Oz (1939), as is based on a novel by Jackson Budd.

Howard plays Clem Morgan, and ex-RAF flyer back in England after escaping from a German prison camp. Life isn't so good, and Morgan ends up throwing in with a criminal black marketeering gang led by the ruthless, sadistic and psychopathic Narcy, short for Narcissus, played excellently by Griffith Jones. Gray plays Sally, Narcy's girlfriend, for the time being. Narcy brings Morgan into his organization, hoping to add a little class and respectability with Morgan's more refined manner and upbringing, but soon sours on him as Morgan discovers that one of the many things Narcy's gang deal with is dope, and Morgan wants nothing to do with the junk. This causes Narcy to set Morgan up to take the fall, and Morgan ends up in the joint, doing hard time for a murder he didn't commit. Also, Narcy had eyes for Morgan's girlfriend, which causes Narcy's current girlfriend to take exception, that is, until Narcy shows her just how nasty he is beating the tar out of her after she visits Morgan in jail to get a feel for him, and see if she can use him somehow to get Narcy back. Needless to say, after the severe beating she receives, thoughts of wanting Narcy back soon dissipate. Anyway, Morgan, now serving a long prison term, has thoughts of revenge on the brain, and soon manages to escape. Hatred is strong in this one, and he makes his way back to settle old debts. With the police hot on his heels, and Narcy and his gang preparing for Morgan's eventual appearance, does Morgan have a chance? Will he be able to clear his name? Will he get revenge on those who so richly deserve it? Maybe, but I won't tell, as I feel I may have said too much already...

I thought this was a really wonderful film filled with rich, detailed characterizations and an exceptionally strong story that kept rolling along, rarely letting up on the viewer. The dialogue was quite exquisite, reminding me much of some of Humphrey Bogart's films, with its' snappy retorts and sarcastic wit. The tense drama was perfectly offset by bits of humor in the remarks throughout the movie, really breathing life into the characters. There were one or two minor plot points that seemed contrived (see the scene at the end between the male and female character), but this only stood out for me because the rest of the film was so good. The settings are wonderful, providing a perfectly suited backdrop for the elements within the story, and just enhancing the proceedings immeasurably. Near the end, during the climatic scenes where Morgan faces off against Narcy and his gang, the tension was ripe, and I almost felt like I was watching a Hitchcock films, as I was unable to take my eyes off the screen. The cockney accents and talk did get a bit thick at times, but I found myself falling into to it nicely, and following along quite easily.

Kino presents a really good print of the film here, along with excellent audio. There are no special features, but I am completely happy to see such a wonderful film available in such good condition. If you like crime noir films, or, even if you just like good movies, you will not be disappointed here.

They Made Me a Fan!
ronzo | 05/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Not to be confused with the 1939 American Busby Berkeley film THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL; this is a Brit Noir. Of the two 1947 British noirs, THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE, in my opinion, blows BRIGHTON ROCK right off the pier.

Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, the film is a veritable textbook of movie direction and editing. Otto Heller provides some wonderful cinematographic work on Andrew Mazzei's superb art directed sets. The best images emerge in the last third of the picture, just as the plot and character development gel too. Few films will remind you more of Alfred Hitchcock's best British output.

The simple plot involves ex-RAF flyer Clem Morgan (an early role for Trevor Howard), who unwisely hooks up with a gang, running booze and cigarettes. The gang is led by Narcy (Griffith Jones), who might remind you of a slimmer version of Dillinger, as played by Lawrence Tierney in 1945. Clem and Narcy have a falling out, and Clem is framed for murder. But Clem escapes and begins his hunt for Narcy.

Supported by some very good character actors and a fine Noel Langley script; this film is not only one of the most beautifully shot noirs, it is also a 'slow burner' that delivers. But be warned; THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE set a new standard for noir violence, especially depictions of it against women.