The Fugitive (1947)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Religious Drama  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - Mexico , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Costello

John Ford's adaptation of Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory is hampered by the director's insistence on whitewashing the priest's complexity and an inability to find a visual analogue for the man's reflections. In the novel that is widely regarded as the writer's masterpiece, he gave voice to his own sense of transgression and guilt in the person of a "whiskey priest" who is heir to all sins of the flesh, yet labors to fulfill his duties in spite of them. The director has retained the character's sense of guilt, but excised his drinking and sexuality, transforming the priest into a typically stoic, self-sacrificing Ford hero. Except for the melodrama of his pursuit by the anti-clericalist forces of the revolutionary government, there's little real interest left in the story. Given the Production Code of the time, the film certainly couldn't have been made any other way, but it remains a travesty. Fonda is excellent in a part not unlike that of the haunted Tom Joad, and the exquisite black-and-white photography of the great Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa is in itself a reason to see the film.