Little Fugitive (1953)
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A lovely film with wonderful shots (not surprising since the films creator was a photographer)
Very thin plot, but a uniquely independent feel for 1953. I might lump it with movies like The Exiles (1961) and Killer of Sheep (1978) as "American Neorealism", even though it bears a stronger resemblance to later Iranian kiddy neorealism-lite movies like Where is the Friends Home? (1987) and Children of Heaven (1997).
Apparently Truffaut's inspiration for Les 400 coups, Little Fugitive is still a piece of Americana through and through. Its 7-year-old protagonist Joey wants to be included in the neighborhood street baseball, and has ambitions of becoming a cowboy. What's more American than that? After he's made to believe he killed his older brother Lennie, he runs off to Coney Island, spends all his money on rides as if without a care in the world, and becomes a little entrepreneur to keep the ride going over his two-day escape. Again, very American, but the film refuses to judge its characters. One might initially see admonition of gun control, the glorification of violence, and the American Dream which are all age-spoofed in this story, but after the French New Wave-inspiring first half, the movie switches to what is essentially a comedy as Lennie looks for his brother smacks of forgiveness, not just between brothers, but between film and subject matter.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #126 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #222 in National Film Registry
This movie ranks #480 in NY Times' The Essential 1,000 Films to See