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Escape by Night (September 1, 1937)

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Escape by Night
 

Released on September 1, 1937: A gang running from the law hide out on a farm with a blind man, his daughter and his dog, and decide that farm life is better than big city crime.

Directed by Hamilton MacFadden

The Actors: William Hall (Nick Allen), Anne Nagel (Linda Adams), Dean Jagger (James 'Capper' Regan), Steffi Duna (Josephine 'Jo' Elliott), Ward Bond (Peter 'Spudsy' Baker), Murray Alper (Horace 'Red' Graham), Charles Waldron (Pop Adams), George Meeker (Fred Peters), Wallis Clark (District Attorney Baldwin), Arthur Aylesworth (Sheriff Charlie Thornton), Anthony Warde (Mike Grayson), John Dilson (the doctor), Ethan Laidlaw (hood), Ralph Sanford (Big George, Regan henchman).

 
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In 1918, during World War I days, America was mostly a nation of farmers with a few big cities. When the American farm boys went off to war in Europe, they returned to farm land America with stories of big city excitement. There was a popular song from 1918 called, "How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm After They've Seen Paree," When I was a young boy in the 1950's I often heard adults exclaim, "How can you keep them on the farm after they've seen the big city." Dad was a preacher in some of the small towns of western Pennsylvania in those days, with lots of farmers in his congregations. During those days family farms were quickly disappearing from rural America as young farm boys grew up and went to cities and factories that would pay a bigger wage than they could make farming. America was becoming a nation of cities and factories and tall apartment buildings, and very little 'green space.' By 1937, when this movie was filmed, the march to big cities was on the move, and this motion picture was many years ahead of its time, and is possibly more relevant today than it was back in 1937.

As the movie opens a boy from a coal mining town in Pennsylvania heads for New York City and gets involved with a gangsters moll, saving her from being kidnapped by a rival gang. Before he can get away from the gang the police chase them and our hero runs away into the country with the gangster's girl, and two of his goons. They find a lonely farm with a blind man, his young daughter, and a wonderful dog, and decide that it is the perfect place to hide from the bit city cops. They discover that life on the farm is much better than life in the city, and they are enjoying their new life in the country until the big boss gangster comes looking for them and the cops are right behind. It all comes to a head as their past catches up with them, dragging them back to the city to pay for their crimes. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and drizzle plenty of warm melted butter on it so that you can munch away the blues with this feel-good story that might be called, "How 'ya gonna get them back to the city once they've seen the farm."

Anne Nagel, 1937Anne Nagel and Charles Waldron
Anne NagelAnne Nagel and Charles Waldron
Anne Nagel and Wallis ClarkAnne Nagel, 1937
Anne Nagel and Wallis ClarkAnne Nagel
Anne Nagel, 1937Arthur Aylesworth
Ann NagelArthur Aylesworth
Charles Waldron and George MeekerCharles Waldron, William Hall and Bill the dog
Charles Waldron and George MeekerCharles Waldron, William Hall and Bill the dog
Charles Waldron and William HallCharles Waldron
Charles Waldron and William HallCharles Waldron
Dean JaggerDean Jagger and Steffi Duna
Dean JaggerDean Jagger and Steffi Duna
Dean Jagger, William Hall and Steffi DunaDean Jagger
Dean Jagger, William Hall and Steffi DunaDean Jagger
George Meeker and Steffi DunaGeorge Meeker, 1937
George Meeker and Steffi DunaGeorge Meeker
Murray Alper and William HallSteffi Duna, 1937
Murray Alper and William HallSteffi Duna
the law catches up with the gangWallis Clark
The law catches up with our heroesWallis Clark
Ward Bond, Anthony Warde and Murray AlperWard Bond, Murray Alper and William Hall
Ward Bond, Anthony Warde and Murray AlperWard Bond, Murray Alper and William Hall
Ward Bond and Murray AlperWard Bond, 1937
Ward Bond and Murray AlperWard Bond, 1937
William Hall, 1937William Hall and George Meeker
William HallWilliam Hall and George Meeker
William Hall and John DilsonWilliam Hall confronts Dean Jagger
William Hall and John DilsonWilliam Hall confronts Dean Jagger
William Hall, 1937
William Hall