They Made Me a Fugitive - They Made Me a Fugitive(Blu Ray) [Powerhouse Films - 2019]They Made Me a Fugitive is a little known British film noir from 1947 directed by Brazilian born director Alberto Cavalcanti, based on the Jackson Budd novel of the same name and with a screenplay by Noel Langley, who was one of the screenwriters for Victor Fleming’s classic, The Wizard of Oz.
Set in post-war England, former RAF pilot Clem Morgan (Trevor Howard) finds himself unemployed, before he is drawn into the shadowy crime ridden underworld. After discovering that his crime boss Narcy (Griffith Jones) is dealing in drugs he attempts to get out, and after telling his girlfriend Ellen (Eve Ashley) of his plans, he goes on one final job. They escape and when the driver of the getaway car Soapy (Jack McNaughton) runs over a policeman, Narcy knocks Clem unconscious and leaves him in the drivers seat to take the rap for the crime of running down the police officer. Clem is arrested on the charge of manslaughter and imprisoned in Dartmoor, where he is visited by Narcy’s girlfriend Sally (Sally Gray) who tells him that Ellie is now with Narcy, but that she knows he has been framed and trying to persuade Soapy to turn himself in. After the visit Narcy finds out and brutally beats Sally. Clem escapes from prison and goes on the run, things continue to take stranger turns and he ends up in even more trouble than he already was. Now he must clear his name and ensure that others pay for their crimes.
They Made Me a Fugitive is a really enjoyable crime thriller with some pretty odd twists and turns for the time it was made. The cast are great especially the always brilliant Trevor Howard, and Sally Gray who had returned to the screen a year earlier for the first time since 1942 when she took early retirement after her close friend and regular co-star Stanley Lupino had passed away and she suffered a nervous breakdown.
This new print from Powerhouse films has been thoroughly cleaned up and now looks absolutely amazing for its age, the film still features some natural grain which means it doesn’t look unnaturally pristine, something that I find can be as much of a problem as a poor quality or damaged print. The audio is clear and sounds as good as one could hope for. The disc is rounded out with some great special features, there is a lecture from director Alberto Cavalcanti, and a couple of short documentaries, one on the restoration project as well as the short film in which Trevor Howard made his screen debut. Overall this is a lovely package for a good solid English crime thriller that deserves to be rediscovered.Darren Charles