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The Prison in Cinema

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I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
In a powerful final scene, escaped convict James Allen (Paul Muni) says a last goodbye to the woman he loves, Helen (Helen Vinson). As Helen walks by, Allen calls to her from the shadows:

Allen: Helen! ... Helen!

Helen: Jim! ... Jim, why haven't you come before?

Allen: I couldn't. I was afraid to.

Helen: But you could've written. It's been almost a year since you escaped.

Allen: But I haven't escaped. They're still after me. They'll always be after me. I've had jobs, but I can't keep them -- something happens, someone turns up. I hide in rooms all day and travel by night: no friends, no rest, no peace.

Helen: Oh, Jim!

Allen: Keep moving -- that's all that's left for me. Forgive me, Helen. I had to take a chance to see you tonight, just to say goodbye.

Helen: Oh, Jim. It was all gonna be so different.

Allen: It is different. They've made it different. (Hears a noise and, startled, whispers.) I've gotta go.

Helen: I can't let you go like this. Can't you tell me where you're going? (Shakes his head.) Will you write? (Shakes head again.) Do you need any money? (Shakes head, backing away from her and staring wildly.) But you must, Jim. How do you live?

He disappears into the darkness and hisses.

Allen: I steal.


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"The Prison in Cinema"