Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid ) (1953)
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Critic Reviews for Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid )
At its core, this pioneering independent film, from 1953, is just an urban heart-warmer, but it has a fresh, gritty surface and a Grade A horror-comic hook ...
That the filmmakers were able to make "Little Fugitive" at all is kind of miraculous, but the miraculousness has its limits.
An underseen indie-film landmark and an invaluable artifact of local history to boot.
Audience Reviews for Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid )
Somewhere between The 400 Blows and a Kookla, Fran and Ollie flick, this pioneering 1953 film was a watershed for being an American independent and for its early handheld camera work. A warmhearted kid story with great New York scenery to boot.
As twilight descends on coney island, you can almost taste the salt water air and feel the cool ocean breeze on your cheek. The movie is less a character study and more a day in the life of a boy at a very specific time and place. Rather than a plot taking us along to it's pre-determined destination, things merely happen, and we bear silent witness to it. It's a simple story of two brothers, maybe aged 6 and 11, and the older brother tricks the younger into thinking he's killed him, thus sending the younger brother on the run. He goes to Coney island, and spends a couple of days on the beach and on the boardwalk, drowning his sorrow in junk food and pony rides. Directed by Morris Engel and Ray Ashley, the film has all the quality of an artistic (not artsy-fartsy) documentary, there's very little in the way of script of plot, it's basically an exercise in film and subject matter. And yet, somewhere in the midst of all this artistic vision, a tender story comes out and forms a touching image. It's almost impossible not to see this as a real life story, and it's also almost impossible not to fall in love with the little boy. The charm of this document and it's by-gone era lies with the people it photographs, and as a snapshot of Coney Island and New York, it's almost a love letter.
the very first american indie. remarkably natural performance from the kid. a low budget documentary style snapshot of a more innocent time and a big influence on truffaut's 400 blows
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