Paul Muni

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The Good Earth Review


Very Good
Imagine the uproar if The Good Earth had been made recently. Hell, people cried foul of Memoirs of a Geisha because it used Chinese actors to play Japanese roles. The Good Earth's stars were born in California and Germany.

Shockingly, surprisingly, stars Paul Muni and Luise Rainer pull it off. He's Wang Lung, a simple Chinese farmer. She's O-Lan, his even more simple wife. This adaptation of the Pearl Buck novel has the pair surviving through an epic struggle against poverty and nature, building their farm up from nothing (with O-Lan helping to bring in the harvest the night before she gives birth), then losing everything, slumming on the streets of the city, finding a cache of jewels during a riot, building it all up again, and facing a family crisis when Wang Lung decides to buy a second, younger wife. Hey, it's old world China. In the end, our heroes have to do battle against a plague of locusts. Locusts!

Continue reading: The Good Earth Review

I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang Review


Excellent
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang probably can't take full credit for the reform of harsh prison conditions across the South in the 1930s, but there's no doubt it played a part. Its message is powerful, but luckily it's delivered by way of a dark and thrilling story that's all the more gripping because it's based on a true story. Warner Brothers took a risk with this one ("Banned in Georgia!!!"), but it paid off. Chain Gang is a minor classic that touches on all sorts of big American themes of class and justice.

James Allen (Paul Muni), a returning World War I veteran, is one of the unluckiest people you'll ever meet. His first problem: returning WWI vets were guaranteed none of the upward mobility that vets of later wars were granted. There were no G.I. Bills for these guys. Returning to his old job as a clerk in a factory, Allen knows he's changed, but his job hasn't. He stares dreamily out the window at a bridge being built and realizes that he wants to become an engineer to continue the kind of work he did in the Army.

Continue reading: I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang Review

The Life Of Emile Zola Review


Excellent
Suprisingly strong period piece, this Oscar winner features Paul Muni as the celebrated French author and crusader Emile Zola, a man who, between writing government-bashing novels, found time to free a wrongfully convicted army officer from prison and exile -- even if he had to be convicted of libel in the process. Muni gets lost in his role and does some amazing work. The film is misleading -- the "life" of Zola is barely touched on; it's his final years and legal skirmishes that get all the screen time -- but that's a wise choice; this look at how screwed up the French legal system is can be harrowing.
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Paul Muni Movies

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Movie Review

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Movie Review

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang probably can't take full credit for the...

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