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May 9, 2020

In this week's Studios Year by Year episode, another studio finds its voice in 1932: Warner Bros. gives us the consciousness-raising prison drama I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (dir. Mervyn LeRoy) as well as the weird little maternity ward movie Life Begins (dir. James Flood). They share a harrowing vision of life and Glenda Farrell in uncharacteristically unsympathetic roles. We discuss I Am a Fugitive's indirect but manifest depiction of the chain gang system as a continuation of slavery and the tragic intersection of machine politics and sexual assault in Life Begins. And if you haven't been harrowed enough after all of that, you can read Elise's new essay for Bright Lights Film Journal on James Whale's Waterloo Bridge (previously discussed on this podcast) and Frank Borzage's Little Man, What Now?, “Love Stories in Harrowing Times.”


Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:          Life Begins (dirs.: James Flood & Elliott Nugent)

0h 35m 01s:          I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (dir: Mervyn Leroy)

1h 41m 41s:          James Harvey interview with Douglas Sirk (July/August 1978 Film Comment issue)            


* Check out our Complete Upcoming Episode Schedule

* Find Elise’s latest published film piece – “Elaine May’s Male Gaze” – in the Elaine May issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room*

*And Read Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

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Theme Music:

“What’s Yr Take on Cassavetes?” – Le Tigre