Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Fugitive Lovers (1934)

FUGITIVE LOVERS reunites Robert Montgomery and Madge Evans, the stars of LOVERS COURAGEOUS (1932), as a pair of runaways who meet and fall in love on a bus.

Evans plays Letty, a showgirl who is attempting to run away from mobster Legs Caffey (Nat Pendleton). Caffey is determined that Letty will be his latest fling and attempts to force her to accompany him to Atlantic City. (The film was released in the final months of the pre-Code era, and Caffey's intentions for the unwilling Letty are made quite clear.) Montgomery plays Paul Porter, an escaped convict who helps Letty keep the persistent Caffey at arm's length.

Montgomery and Evans, who were good friends off the screen, have gallons of chemistry. Without being too specific, my favorite scene was Montgomery's unexpected appearance in a bus station after tipping over a water bucket. My one criticism of the film is that I would have liked to see them in a few more scenes together before the movie ended.

The film is very strikingly photographed by Ted Tetzlaff, who does some great things with shadows and unusual angles. The snowstorm scenes were probably filmed in a soundstage, but the effects and photography were so good that aspect didn't even occur to me till after the movie had ended.

Classic film fans can have a lot of fun watching for various actors, such as a young Walter Brennan as a bus driver, Akim Tamiroff as a mute passenger, or the Three Stooges (really!) as bus passengers. Delmar Watson plays Tommy, a little boy lost in the snow.

It's amazing to realize that FUGITIVE LOVERS was the 30th (!) Robert Montgomery film I've seen in a little over two and a half years. I'd previously seen only one of the 30 films, MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941), plus two others I've not seen lately, HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941) and THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945). Some of my favorites I've even managed to watch twice: THEIR OWN DESIRE (1929), THE MAN IN POSSESSION (1931), LOVERS COURAGEOUS (1932), and HIDE-OUT (1934). Yes, I am definitely a Montgomery fan! Discovering his movies for the first time has been a great pleasure over the last couple of years. Here is another list of some of his best films from Obscure Classics.

FUGITIVE LOVERS was directed by Richard Boleslawski; his credit was listed as Richard Boleslawsky for this film. The movie clocks in at 82 minutes.

This movie is not available on video or DVD, but it can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.


Blogger jau said...

I am an inveterate Robert Montgomery fan, Laura, so I'm very glad to hear you are, too! He's charming but not excessively so and always interesting to watch. His face shows so much!

I cannot wait to see this one - somehow it has escaped me so far.


7:44 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hope you get to see it soon, Anne! As you say, he's such an interesting actor. He has a unique screen presence which is very compelling.

Best wishes,

12:03 AM  
Blogger mel said...

I know you're not a Three Stooges fan, but someone in your family may be.

George O'Brien's last starring role was Gold Raiders (1951) with - guess who...

I think it's a very funny film so perhaps you'd like to see it - if only for O'Brien?

9:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Mel! How funny that was O'Brien's last role. I'd definitely see it for him, I'm quite taken with him as you can probably tell. :) Thank you for telling me about it!

Best wishes,

11:01 PM  

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