Thursday, 10 January 2008

He ran all the way (John Berry 1951)

Nick Robey: “...but I am running so hard in this dream…”

At the beginning of the film Nick Robey (John Garfield) wakes up from a nightmare – he was running… he feels he won’t be lucky that day..

On the same day he takes part in an payroll robbery in which a man is seriously wounded. Running away from the police he goes to a pool where he meets Peg Dobbs (Shelley Winters). After a friendly conversation Peggy takes him to her apartment. Nick is thinking about the robbery and the wounded man and he is wondering what to do next. When Peg’s parents and younger brother return home at night Nick thinks they know about his criminal deed. Then Nick’s paranoia increases and he takes Peg and her family as hostages while he is hoping to find a way to escape.

But Nick is doomed and his dream of running all the way comes true…

In the film Nick is portrayed as a hunted man, victim of the rejection of society rather than as a cold criminal.

In the same sense the film is also a symbol of the career and status of John Garfield, a great actor that had taken part in many noir films. His political ideas had put him in the spotlight of the MacCarthy witch hunt campaign. One year after making this film he died of a heart attack. It wasn’t only him that had been blacklisted, director John Berry and the screenwriters (Dalton Trumbo and Hugo Butler) had also been in political trouble and had to be exiled – part of this paranoia is in a way present in the film. In this context the death of Nick in the gutter is a highly symbolic image…

1 comment: said...

Just another predictable noir film for hard hearted people.