Richie Andrusco inLittle Fugitive (1953, dir. Ray Ashley, Ruth Orkin, & Morris Engel)
“The title character is a 7-yr-old boy who runs away from his Brooklyn neighborhood to the Coney Island amusement park after his older brother plays a cruel prank on him. Anticipating the advances in lightweight camera equipment that would propel cinéma-vérité documentary a few years later, Engel did the cinematography with a small, portable 35mm camera he helped design.
[Little Fugitive] made a big impression on other aspiring filmmakers who wanted to follow their own instincts outside Hollywood’s orbit. They included John Cassavetes & Martin Scorsese, who began setting stories against vivid New York City backgrounds a few years later. François Truffaut was inspired by the picture’s childhood subject and spontaneous production style when he created his prize-winning debut feature, The 400 Blows, in 1959. ‘Our New Wave would never have come into being,’ he told an interviewer years later, ‘if it hadn’t been for the young American Morris Engel, who showed us the way to independent production with [this] fine movie.’”