The Fugitive

  • 1947
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

One of John Ford's favorite films; he sometimes considered it his masterpiece. It's hardly that, just as its companion piece, THE INFORMER, isn't quite the masterpiece everyone once thought it was. A powerful passion play set in a modern, fictitious south-of-the-border country, THE FUGITIVE is hauntingly photographed by Figueroa and boasts a highly effective...read more

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One of John Ford's favorite films; he sometimes considered it his masterpiece. It's hardly that, just as its companion piece, THE INFORMER, isn't quite the masterpiece everyone once thought it was. A powerful passion play set in a modern, fictitious south-of-the-border country, THE

FUGITIVE is hauntingly photographed by Figueroa and boasts a highly effective performance from Fonda in which an intensely warm and likable saintliness largely replaces a three-dimensional character.

Much of this stems from Ford's influence on Nichols's screenplay, which changed the complex, sinful "whiskey priest" of Greene's original novel into a man whose main fear is that he's not sacrificing enough. The fugitive (Fonda) is hunted by a revolutionary government attempting to eliminate all

traces of the Catholic religion. He hides in a small village and, passing as a peasant, performs secret rites for the locals. He even baptizes the bastard child a woman (the impossibly gorgeous Del Rio) has borne to a savage police lieutenant (Armendariz). He also comforts an American criminal on

the run (Bond) before escaping to a country without religious persection. An encounter with a half-breed police spy (Naish) and the call to duty, though, lure him back to his hostile native terrain.

As with much of Ford, THE FUGITIVE is often sentimental and very Catholic, blunting Greene's political edge in favor of Ford's preference for lyric poetry. Here Fonda is the true Ford hero: quiet, contemplative, nonviolent and capable of superhuman sacrifice. Naive in some ways and full of

portentous, obvious yet admittedly striking symbolism, THE FUGITIVE is nevertheless true to its own convictions.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: One of John Ford's favorite films; he sometimes considered it his masterpiece. It's hardly that, just as its companion piece, THE INFORMER, isn't quite the masterpiece everyone once thought it was. A powerful passion play set in a modern, fictitious south-… (more)

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