Fugitive, The (1947): John Ford’s Somber Drama, Starring Henry Fonda

RKO Radio (Argosy Production)

John Ford’s somber, moody drama, based on Graham Greene’s acclaimed novel, “The Power and the Glory” (aka “The Labyryntine Way”), is considered to be one of his most personal and arty films.

Along with the Oscar-winning “The Informer” (1935), “The Fugitive” exhibits the influence of German Expressionism on the style used by Ford, who shot both films in black-and white.

The tale centers on an escaped man (played by Henry Fonda), a runaway priest in an anti-clerical country, and the various people involved in his flight.

Dudley Nichols, who collaborated with Ford on other films (before and after “The Fugitive,” and later directed) has taken several liberties with the source material. Green’s hero was a slovenly “whiskey priest,” living with a woman, but in the film’s neater version, reflecting Ford’s conservatism as well as strictures of the Production Code, Fonda’s priest is neither a boozer nor a womanizer.

Credits

Produced by Merian C. Cooper
Directed by John Ford
Screenplay: Dudley Nichols, based on Graham Green’s novel, The Power and the Glory

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