We Were Strangers (1949)

Genres - Adventure, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama  |   Release Date - Apr 27, 1949 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

We Were Strangers is a largely ignored John Huston effort which never quite comes together but will be of interest to fans of the director. Part of the problem lies with a script that feels as if it were rewritten to accommodate a studio concerned about insulting anyone. While it is clear that the sympathies lie with the rebels (and even with their willingness to resort to violence that will take innocent lives), everything feels a little too generic. The central romance also seems grafted on, even though it occupies a huge role in the film. This is not helped by the lack of chemistry between John Garfield and Jennifer Jones. Individually, Garfield and Jones are more than adequate, but less than inspired; there's a lot of huffing and puffing from both of them, but it never seems quite real. By contrast, Gilbert Roland comes across as the genuine article, someone who seems to have the revolutionary blood coursing through his every vein. Pedro Armendáriz also impresses, turning in a powerful performance in a role that is fairly two-dimensional. As for the direction, Huston's work is polished and efficient, but lacking in fervor. He just doesn't seem to have his heart in it. The result is a more than respectable film with some thrilling moments that just doesn't come together in the way that it should.