Still from the film Little Fugitive (1953) showing a close-up of a young boy frowning

Little Fugitive / In the Street / The Quiet One

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The UCLA Film & Television Archive presents classic film and contemporary cinema in the Hammer's Billy Wilder Theater.

Part of the series American Neorealism, Part One: 1948–1984

Little Fugitive

When a cruel prank leads seven-year-old Joey to believe he has killed his older brother, he runs away to Coney Island, taking refuge in pony rides, cotton candy, and carnival games as his remorseful brother Lennie tries to make things right. Filmed with crisp naturalism, Little Fugitive captures the vibrant rhythms of 1950s New York and the trials and triumphs of childhood. (1953, dir. Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, Ray Ashley, 35mm, black and white, 75 min.)

Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art in New York with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Film Foundation and the Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Fund. 35mm print struck by Cinema Conservancy, released by Kino Lorber.

In the Street

Noted photographer Helen Levitt joins hands with painter Janice Loeb and writer James Agee in this extraordinary portrait of Spanish Harlem in 1948. Shot with small 16mm cameras, often hidden from sight to allow a more intimate view, the film offers a moving and lyrical vision of daily life in the streets. A second version of the film was released in 1952 with a score by Arthur Kleiner. (1948, dir. James Agee, 35mm, black and white, 16min.)

The Quiet One

The greatly underappreciated Sidney Meyers and cinematographer Richard Bagley join Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, and James Agee in this touching early docudrama. The first major American film to feature a black youth as its protagonist, it chronicles the life of a 10-year-old emotionally disturbed boy named Donald Peters and his experience of rehabilitation at Harlem’s Wiltwyck School. Its story is loosely based on the life of young Donald Thompson, who plays the main character: rejected by his loved ones, he tries to overcome his trauma. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Story and Screenplay, but when the Academy refused Meyers’s request to have Bagley’s name added to the group of writers, he declined the nomination. It went on to be named the second best film of 1949 by the National Board of Review. (1948, dir. Sidney Meyers, 16mm, black and white, 67 min.)