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LGM Film Club, Part 285: He Ran All the Way

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I watched the intense if not great He Ran All the Way last night. This film is notorious not for itself, but because it was the last film of John Garfield as he was blacklisted from Hollywood and died of a heart attack soon after, as well as the erasure of John Berry from credit as director and Dalton Trumbo and Hugo Butler from writing credit, also all because of the blacklist.

What makes this interesting is how apolitical this film really is and how utterly paranoid these McCarthyites of the era were. Garfield’s character is a very stupid unloved and unloving man who is in a heist, kills a cop, meets a rather dim girl (a typically whatever Shelley Winters) at the pool where he is hiding from the cops, then forces his way into her house where he takes the family hostage. At most, the Garfield character can be read as the kind of person ground down by society, but while the film had the opportunity to provide some socioeconomic patina, it chose not to. The closest it gets is to have Winters call Garfield’s mother so she can help him and she doesn’t care either way. But that’s not much. There’s no subversive messages in this even if you want to read them into it. As for the film itself, Garfield absolutely provides the goods. Really, it’s a first-rate performance. Because most of it takes place in the family’s house, it has a very stagey play atmosphere, but that’s alright. It’s a high three-low four star film on a five star scale, the kind of thing that is deeply watchable but is unlikely to change your film life.

This entire film is streaming on YouTube for free, so go for it.

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