Made in 1953 but having the look and feel of a considerably older movie, Little Fugitive tells the story of Joey Norton, a little boy who's tricked into thinking he has accidentally killed his older brother. Sickened and afraid by what he's done, Joey runs off to Coney Island...where he rides horses, plays games, collects the deposits on untold soda bottles, and generally has a great time until the happy and predictable conclusion.
While not a terrible movie, Little Fugitive is terribly made and surprisingly amateurish, perhaps the work of a first-time director, or maybe student filmmakers—students not much older than the protagonists, in fact. (The few quarters that Joey earns by digging up soda bottles might have been the entire budget for this movie.)
Although plagued with ponderously slow stretches and several subpar performances, the movie does succeed in making the viewer care about Joey, and we stick to the end to make sure he finds out he's not really guilty of first-degree manslaughter. Probably the most interesting thing about the film's 90 minutes is watching the parade of hilarious anachronisms, such as the sequence where riders are seen pulling the brass ring as they ride the merry-go-round. Rating: 3/5.