The Fallen Sparrow (1943)

Genres - Spy Film  |   Sub-Genres - War Spy Film, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Aug 19, 1943 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Although it suffers from a muddled script, The Fallen Sparrow emerges as a more than decent little spy thriller mixed with film noir. That Sparrow ultimately triumphs over its often-vague screenplay is a testament to the towering central performance of John Garfield. One of the era's most intense actors, Garfield tended to throw himself wholeheartedly into a role, usually working with a dedication and commitment that are inspiring. He's in total command and control in Sparrow, taking every tortured twist and turn of his character's psyche and playing it for all it's worth. In other hands, this could become self-indulgent and lead to serious overacting; but Garfield is too interested in creating a character rather than an effect, and so he is at all times true to the demands of the drama here, rather than to ego. {$Walter Slezak] is also in good form, if not working on Garfield's exalted level. Maureen O'Hara, however, is simply miscast. Richard Wallace finds opportunity to utilize his camera and an array of shadows to create chilling effects. Were the screenplay more artfully written, Sparrow would be a solid classic, rather than the good-but-flawed film it is.