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Written by / 7/20/2016 / No comments / , , , ,

JOHN GARFIELD'S FINAL BOW IN 'HE RAN ALL THE WAY'

Kino Blu Ray Cover MOVIE RELEASED: 1951
The death of John Garfield, especially for rabid fans of Film Noir, is that of a martyr; if ever there was a martyr caused by the Hollywood Blacklist, it's Garfield. But for those who rely on fiction over fact, happening upon a "classic old movie" without knowing a backstory on the actor on screen, sadly enough, John – though still tough and sturdily handsome – looked that of a man nearly finished...

Very noticeably aged from THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, which has become a sort of GONE WITH THE WIND of the b-crime genre, he could have very well played the older fella who hires a young handsome stud to hang around his trophy wife...

But the desperate HE RAN ALL THE WAY criminal has only one buddy left – who ain't around for long: Like many slowburn melodramas, RAN begins in full stride and then progressively mellows. On the run for killing a cop – dogging his heels right after a heist gone extremely wrong – Garfield's Nick Robey meets the ingenue, a different sort of love interest: and neither seem that interested at all...

SCORE: ***1/2
Or at least not really. What ends up a one man DESPERATE HOURS is tight and suspenseful. Perhaps because the meager budget couldn't allow any distractions, the story goes in a neat straight line. And Shelly Winters as Peggy looks a bit too old to be living at home – making it a real surprise for our man who seems more outright bitter than ambiguous, lethal than vulnerable, and he rarely shows a reposeful side to completely fit the Noir template, as far as the "Leading Guilt-Ridden Crook" is concerned.

Beyond the troubles of being wanted on the street, with the law moving in on every corner outside (cop killers must get caught, preferably dead), it's how Robey settles into a normal, standard life that winds up a hybrid of edgy and eerie. He has more to learn from the preachy (and somewhat irritating) blue collar father than our stock starlet – most roles by Winters couldn't be "played by anyone" but not in this case: Then again, the same might be said of Garfield's somewhat average turn. And yet, bringing real life into his character, and keeping in mind this was written by Dalton Trumbo, the epitome of Blacklisted screenwriters, a shattered past and doomed future that, having aged his existence, is like witnessing a typical crook fighting against conventional normality – so by his expressions and not words or actions, we realize the title could have been HE'D BEEN THERE AND BACK ALREADY, making this a grungy little Swan Song befitting an actor who was (and still is) a true Film Noir and overall Hollywood legend.
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