He Ran All the Way (1951)

“Carve the turkey.”

Synopsis:
A thief on the lam (John Garfield) seeks refuge with the family of a woman (Shelley Winters) he meets at the pool.

Genres:

Review
While not particularly unique in terms of narrative or characterization, this little thriller nonetheless holds a special place in HUAC-era film history: Garfield — who admitted to membership in the Community Party but refused to “name names” — died of coronory thrombosis at the age of 39, after this film’s release; many believe the stress he was under contributed to his premature death. In addition, notorious blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo co-wrote the script, which includes some zingy lines of dialogue (“Get the dandruff out of your blood!”) and a fair amount of tension. Perhaps most effective, however, is James Wong Howe’s stunning cinematography: his use of dramatic lighting and depth-of-field add visual interest to the story at all times, even when the narrative falters.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • John Garfield’s effectively paranoid portrayal as a fugitive who’s not quite sure who he can trust, but who longs to belong somewhere
    Garfield
  • Shelley Winters as Garfield’s apprehensive love interest
    Winters
  • Gorgeous b&w cinematography by James Wong Howe
    Shadows
  • Good use of unusual New York locales
    Pool

Must See?
Yes, for its significance in film history.

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One Response to “He Ran All the Way (1951)”

  1. A once-must, for the performances (esp. Garfield’s last), JWH’s cinematography and John Berry’s direction.

    It’s true that there isn’t a whole lot that will be surprising in this film. But it’s solid work all-round and, therefore, worth a watch. Very tense throughout. The conclusion is particularly good.

    Note: The year before, Berry made a 15-minute film called ‘The Hollywood Ten’, which led him to being blacklisted. The short is on YouTube.

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