Review: They Made Me a Fugitive (1948)

The English accents are thick and the sound quality a bit muffled, so for the first thirty minutes of this very British crime Noir I had a bit of trouble following what was going on. Clem (Trevor Howard) falls in with a nasty black marketer named Narcy (Griffith Jones) who operates under the cover of a funeral home. When Clem questions Narcy’s authority (he’s not keen on branching into the drug trade), Narcy frames him for murder and steals his girl. Clem escapes from the chain gang and heads back to London to get to the one guy who can clear his name—unless Narcy gets to him first.

A tight script and constantly moving camera keeps the story humming along. Sally Gray, as Narcy’s ex, is cool, aloof, and nothing special as she helps Clem after he escapes. The final fight between Clem and Narcy is hilarious—there are more slaps than punches traded by these two and at one point, when Clem grabs for the gun on the ground between them, he throws it at his opponent rather than firing it. How very British.

Note: Watch for Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot) as the nightclub proprietor near the end of the film.

I give They Made Me a Fugitive 3.5 out of 5 coffins filled with contraband.

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