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March 31, 2010

He Ran All the Way - Classic Film Pick

He_ran_all_the_way By the time he finished directing this notable addition to the film noir cannon in 1951, John Berry had become the eleventh member of the Senator Joe McCarthy's "Hollywood Ten" blacklist. Berry had directed a 15-minute documentary about the screenwriters and directors singled out by the House Un-American Activities Committee's communist witch hunt in which the "ten" stated their ethical positions on their dilemma. When FBI agents appeared at the door of his Los Angeles home to serve him with a subpoena, Berry climbed out the bathroom window and headed straight to the airport, where he bought a ticket to Paris. Berry spent 12 years in where he continued to work as a filmmaker. He returned to the States in 1963 to piece together what was left of his American career. Infamous blacklister Dalton Trumbo wrote the film's script, based on a novel by Sam Ross about Nick Robey (John Garfield), the cynical product of a broken home who shoots a cop while trying to escape (after offing a guy over ten grand in cash). In an attempt to blend in with the crowd, Nick goes to a public swimming pool, where he meets Peg Dobbs (Shelley Winters), a bakery worker living at home with her parents and little brother. Nick escorts Peg home, then loosely holds her working-class family hostage while initiating a troubled relationship with the emotionally needy Peg. "He Ran All the Way" also marked the end of John Garfield's once promising acting career, one that influenced Marlon Brando's style of method acting. Garfield's refusal to name names left him without work; a heart attack finished him off a year later. Cinematographer James Wong Howe's brilliant use of deep focus shots contributes to the film's saturated black and white photography, effectively conveying Nick's imminent doom. Shelly Winters and James Garfield play their characters' charged emotions and wavering degrees of trust with an urgency that is amazing to witness. The tragedies behind the heartbreak on the screen are real. 

Watch the Video Review Here


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