Wednesday, 3 June 2015

ESCAPE (1948)

"There is nothing more tragic in life than the utter impossibility of changing what you have done"  

John Galsworthy

An improbable, pedestrian fugitive-on-the-run story, 'Escape' is saved by the appeal of its English-born leads 'Sexy Rexy' Harrison and Peggy Cummins, now enshrined for her part as the fetishistic femme fatale in 'Gun Crazy'.

Matt Denant (Harrison) is sent to jail for three years for the assault and inadvertent killing of a police officer. Dora Winton (Cummins) offers Denant both the benefit of the doubt and her only too-willing assistance after his escape from prison.

Harrison is his usual disarmingly louche self and Cummins is engaging as the headstrong young woman. Also good is William Hartnell as a police inspector, a part he played to great effect in countless British crime dramas.

Based on a play by John Galsworthy, 'Escape' also benefits from a literate script that offers a thoughtful meditation on justice and its sometimes difficult and uneven administration.

In the end though, the parts don't come close to adding up to a whole. Directed by Joseph. L. Mankeiwicz, 'Escape' deserved to be a bigger picture but ended up writ small, unable to overcome its theatrical origins and dictating lack of passion. 

Pity, that.

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