Louis King, 1936
USA | Format: 16mm | 61 minutes
Introduction by Red Hollywood director Thom Andersen on August 16.
Dalton Trumbo adds some new twists to the chain-gang film with his first script, in which many of his signature themes and motifs are already present: mutilation, torture, desperation, etc. A reporter (Donald Woods) exposing local corruption in an unnamed southern state is framed after writing one exposé too many on a slimy politician (Joseph King) and finds himself “disappeared” into a prison farm, finally ending up in the dreaded prison mines. Road Gang is a film about a journalist/advocate but that is also itself a work of journalistic advocacy, unflinchingly engaging with the dire state of the American penal system.