Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


John Garfield

THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943). Director: Richard Wallace.

John Garfield enters Alfred Hitchcock territory with mixed results in this story of John "Kit" McKittrick (Garfield), who escaped from a Spanish prison and has something [the "MacGuffin"] that Nazi agents are after. In New York he investigates the death of a close friend who fell or was pushed from an upper story window during a party. Kit gets embroiled with three women: Toni Donne (Maureen O'Hara); old girlfriend Barby (Patricia Morison); and young singer Whitney (Martha O'Driscoll), none of whom he can trust any more than the men he encounters. Then there's the mysterious limping man who was a torturer in the Spanish prison and is now skulking around New York [his identity comes as no great surprise]. Garfield, Morison and O'Hara are all fine, and Walter Slezak scores as a strange professor in a wheelchair. Nestor Paiva [Mr. Reckless] and Hugh Beaumont [Larceny in Her Heart] have small roles as well. The movie is only sporadically interesting and can hardly be considered one of Garfield's more interesting pictures. What this needs is Alfred Hitchcock and a stronger script.

Verdict: Watch Body and Soul instead. **1/2.

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