Hell’s Highway (1932)

This is a terrific little film (especially given it’s from 1932) about characters who are sentenced to a chain gang and the terrible conditions they face. Sometimes 1930’s movies suffer from bad music, chattery dialogue and silly distractions but this is a very nice well shot piece of antique cinema. Richard Dix plays the top dog on a chain gang.

The month after this film released the more well known movie “I was a Fugitive from a Chain Gang” was released by Warner Brothers. That movie portrayed prison conditions from the perception of an innocent man. This one portrays prison conditions from the perspective of guys who are guilty as sin. It was a race. You can tell from the way this film sort of doesn’t quite make the end before it starts to unravel a little bit. Both were intended to portray chain gang conditions as terrible. Both of the movies were pre Hayes code so the content is not as sanitized as you’d find in many of films at the time.

This is a very well done film and you won’t find yourself needing to forgive it for being from 1932.

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