FUGITIVE ROAD (HOUSE OF STRANGERS) (director: Frank R. Strayer; screenwriters: story by Charles Belden & Robert Ellis; cinematographer: M.A. Anderson; editor: Roland Reed; cast: Erich Von Stroheim (Hauptmann Oswald Von Traunsee), Leslie Fenton (Frank Riker), Wera Engels (Sonya Valinoff), George Humbert (Papa Vinocchio); Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maury M. Cohen; Sinister Cinema ( Invincible); 1934)
“Cheaply made drama.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A cheaply made drama, that is curiously interesting despite major holes in its story. It’s decently directed by Frank R. Strayer(“It’s A Great Life”/”I Ring Doorbells”/”Blondie Goes to College“), with rumored help from Erich Von Stroheim. It’s based on the story by Charles Belden and Robert Ellis.Hauptmann Oswald Von Traunsee (Erich Von Stroheim) is a disagreeable Austrian commandant of the border guards, on a garrison at the Italian border, during the First World War. Frank Riker (Leslie Fenton) is an escaped criminal from Brooklyn, wanted for extradition. Sonya (Wera Engels) is a lovely Russo-Hungarian refugee. Sonya is the sister of the former cellmate of Frank’s. The cellmate died in the same jail break that Frank was successful in his escape. Frank is determined to stop the lecherous guard from seducing Sonya, so at gunpoint he forces Von Traunsee to drive him and Sonya to the next village. Frank marries Sonya, there. The guard lets them go on to Brooklyn, even though he knew the gangster’s gun was empty. It seems he was impressed by Frank’s code of honor in protecting Sonya’s virtue.
REVIEWED ON 2/16/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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