He Ran All the Way (1951)

He Ran All the Way (1951)

“Carve the turkey.”

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

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Fugitives
  • Hostages
  • John Garfield Films
  • Shelley Winters Films

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
  • Shelley Winters as Garfield’s apprehensive love interest
  • Atmospheric cinematography by James Wong Howe
  • Good use of unusual New York locales

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


  • Historically Relevant


2 thoughts on “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.

  2. Agree completely – a tense and compact film that (as stated) doesn’t offer surprises, but keeps on on the edge of their seat.

    Great atmosphere and performances by Garfield and Winters. Garfield had a number of good performances left in him – too bad he died so abruptly.

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