“There are no musts in my life. I’m free, white and twenty-one.”
According to the pop culture history lessons I’ve received through TV and movies over the last three decades, soldiers returning home from the Vietnam War were the first American veterans to not got the hero treatment. Turns out, I was wrong. Turns out, the returning US servicemen of the WWI didn’t exactly have a red carpet waiting for them either. Turns out America in general in the 20s wasn’t the most socially conscious place in the world. And, most surprisingly, it turns out that Hollywood was more open to criticising that in the 30s than I ever would have given it credit for. All that is to say, I think I just got a pretty great history lesson with I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang.
The First World War has just ended, and American soldiers are returning home to a not so prosperous homeland. Jobs are in short supply, ex servicemen, like James Allen (Paul Mini) struggle to find their place in a country that seems to have moved on without them while they we refighting in Europe. (more…)