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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943)


John Garfield works hard as a shell-shocked Spanish Civil War volunteer who’s back on-the-town in NYC after a stint in rehab. He’s out to prove that his best pal didn’t commit suicide and winds up mixing it up with a gang of hiding-in-plain-sight Nazis. Maureen O’Hara, Patricia Morrison & Martha O’Driscoll make a tasty trio of lovely liars for John to pursue, but the bad guys, including Walter Slezak & Hugh Beaumont (Beaver Cleaver’s dad with a German accent?) don’t offer a lot of menace. There’s more fun in watching solid character actor John Miljan pull off a tricky part as an ambivalent police inspector. Helmer Richard Wallace & lenser Nicholas Musuraca also aren’t phoning it in, laying out a foreboding atmosphere while Robert Wise's editing adds a sharp, jangly edge. But the story never adds up or draws us in, and the main interest comes from watching Garfield play the sort of role Humphrey Bogart would have nabbed back @ Warners, home studio to both.

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