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With: Henry Fonda, Dolores del Rio, Pedro Armendáriz, J. Carrol Naish, Leo Carrillo, Ward Bond, Robert Armstrong, John Qualen, Fortunio Bonanova, Chris-Pin Martin, Miguel Inclán, Fernando Fernández
Written by: Dudley Nichols, based on a novel by Graham Greene
Directed by: John Ford
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 104
Date: 11/03/1947

The Fugitive (1947)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Faith Off

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Ford's The Fugitive is as beautiful a film as was ever lensed. Ford himself was a great poet of the cinema, and The Fugitive proved it. Moreover, Ford rarely had as fine an instrument through which to work as Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa.

In The Fugitive, Henry Fonda plays an unnamed preacher on the run from authorities who have proclaimed religion illegal. He finds an ally in Dolores Del Rio -- the beautiful bilingual star whom Figueroa photographed many times -- as a barmaid with a fatherless child. Along the way, the preacher finds reason to question his faith, his courage, and his will.

The key word here is poetry, as The Fugitive has very little dialogue and very little action. It creeps along slowly and deliberately. We're left to look at the pictures, the bright whites overcome by the intense blacks, the rich cloudy skies and streams of sunlight, the religious symbolism, and the way the shadows intensify Fonda and Del Rio's faces.

It was based on Graham Greene's 1940 novel The Power and the Glory. The Mexican director Emilio Fernández produced. It was reportedly Ford's favorite of all his films.

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