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I Escaped from the Gestapo (1943) Dir. Harold Young
A Monogram Picture
75 min. / B&W / 1.33:1
On DVD through Warner Archive

Counterfeiter extraordinaire Dean Jagger is sprung from the pokey by a group of cheerless men who ask only in return that he do some "favors" for them while they keep him locked up in a room off the world's smallest amusement park arcade (this being a Monogram Picture and all). When a naval ID he forges leads to the sinking of a U.S. ship, he realizes he's working for the Razis (led by John Carradine with Anthony Warde and a bunch of other guys who answered a casting call for "Male actors, 30-45, must not look or sound even remotely Germanic") and his patriotism overcomes his counterfeitism and he seeks to escape with the aid of his kitten, a small box turtle, a cigar band, and Mary Brian, the Sweetest Girl in Movies.

Wonderfully fun WW2 programmer in which nobody escapes from the Gestapo. Jagger is a cynical, humorous leading man, Carradine walks through his part, Miss Brian replaced Frances Farmer (this was her last film before her breakdown) early on and you can catch Frances in a montage sequence, and Snub Pollard has a walk-on as a badly dressed train passenger who steals counterfeit loot.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Dean: "Give me the head of a pin and a piece of paper and I'll give you enough queer money to balance the budget!"

Just when you think the film is running out of steam, Bill Henry shows up as a young Nazi true-believer who discovers through American girls and jukeboxes and penny arcades that, gosh, maybe the German way of life isn't so good after all. This is a fun film, especially if you don't mind the cramped sets and typical Monogram cheapness (which we never do). The print on the Warner Archive DVD is stellar (and bears the film's re-release title, No Escape).

Also on the Program

A pair of 1939 Merrie Melodies, Bars and Stripes Forever (dogs in prison) and the fun Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (with a caveman who talked like Jack Benny); the MGM Crime Reporter related the Crime Does Not Pay adventure Soak the Old, with Ralph Morgan unwittingly helping con men steal pension funds; Our Gang (including Spanky, who was also in our Gestapo epic) in Wedding Worries (1941, and Darla's final appearance in the series); Bubbles, a Vitaphone musical short with a bunch of kids in weird outfits; and "Menaced by Fate", the fourth ass-kicking episode of our serial, Holt of the Secret Service. We also saw a trailer for an upcoming film, In a Lonely Place, with Humphrey Bogart.
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I Escaped from the Gestapo (1943) · Monogram Week