None Shall Escape (1944)

Genres - Crime, Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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A solid, often gripping drama about human evil, None Shall Escape probably packs a little less punch for modern audiences than it did for those who viewed it upon its release during World War II. While certainly a propaganda film and prone to many of the failings inherent in that kind of work, None still makes some powerful statements and raises questions of morality that can lead to thought provoking discussions. It does get to be a little heavy handed in places, but this is necessary to support its mission: making people aware of the atrocities that a normal human being can commit, and how both circumstances and personal inclinations can combine to create a monster. None is also interesting in its emphasis on the culpability of the "little man," rather than on the military and political leaders that plan and orchestrate hideous outrages. A great deal of None's power comes from the commitment of Andre De Toth, whose considerable talent and skill is boosted by the personal feelings that he brings to the subject matter. None is also notable for the exceptional performance of Alexander Knox, whose work is above reproach. He shows us facets of his character that other, more "starry" actors would be afraid to, and he is at all times believable. It's a commanding, unsettling performance, and makes one wish that Knox had been given more roles that really demonstrated his abilities during his career.