By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I have a ridiculous backlog of classic and foreign films I’ve been meaning to get to, and never finding time for, so I’ve finally decided to just force myself to. Once a week, I will choose, by an online random number generator, one of the 1,000-odd films from my personal “need to see before I die” list, then review that bad boy, provided I can find a copy.
I should probably rewatch this, but I hear all copies were lost in the great EMP of 2009
My choice this week? 1953’s independently-produced Little Fugitive , which had an incredible influence on the French New Wave and can be tabbed as one of the forerunners of American Independent Cinema. It’s about a young boy who goes on the lam in Coney Island when his single mother must leave town and his older douchebag brother just kinda lets him do it.
Two generations later, this happens
First off, a Toast is due solely to the outsized influence this film had. Without it, arguably the films of favorite auteurs from Francois Truffaut to Richard Linklater wouldn’t exist or at least their work may look quite different.
Also, Little Fugitive is a fascinating document of a place and time with a particular American nostalgia- 1950s Coney Island. It’s also remarkably polished and well-made for a low-budget, independent film starring children and shot with a hand-held camera.
Something 60 years of film advancement apparently hasn’t made easier for the Paranormal Activity movies
I also appreciated when the film tried to peer through the eyes of its young protagonist, which sometimes, coupled with a discordant score atypical of the period, verges on horror.
Something 60 years of… yadda, yadda, yadda
The voice dubbing was obviously a necessity due to the equipment and time, but did they have to pick such an obnoxious middle aged woman to voice Joey? She sounds like Nancy Cartwright with irritable bowel syndrome.
Which the Bartman would probably actually enjoy.
Honestly, the plot is kinda dumb. The way it provides a frame for the lyrical stretches of this boy discovering and thriving in his new environment is commendable, but is still overly reliant on everybody being an absolutely awful guardian. Just the worst. Mom fucks off to see Grandma for two days, leaving her 9 year old alone to take care of her 6 year old. Predictably, the 9 year old is terrible at that… but you’d think even the dumbest 9 year old might start to worry a bit after his brother’s been missing over 24 hours.
Then you have totally nice, totally not molesty Cowboy Slim, who has the foresight to figure out where this kid who’s been hanging out all day at his pony corral is from and give his house a call. Now, what to do until his brother gets there? Entertain him? Physically restrain him if need be? Nope, let him fuck off to who knows where, that’s what! Bow Howdy, the 50s must have been safe!
Little Fugitive is an unbelievably influential and often beautiful cinema verité forerunner, but it hasn’t aged incredibly well.
Take a Drink: whenever someone’s a dick to Joey
Take a Drink: whenever Joey bitches about something
Take a Drink: whenever accents get excessively New Yawkish
Take a Drink: for every horse ride
Take a Drink: for every bottle deposit
Do a Shot: for a classic baseball reference