THE FUGITIVE (1947). Directed by John Ford, written by Dudley Nichols from the novel "The Labyrinthine Ways" (a.k.a. "The Power and the Glory") by Graham Greene. Made in Mexico.With Henry Fonda, Dolores Del Rio, Pedro Armendariz, J. Carrol Naish, Ward Bond, et al.
The fugitive is Henry Fonda, a priest running away from soldiers during Mexico's violent anti-clerical period, helped by beautiful Del Rio and Yankee robber Bond. One should not compare the film and its superb book source, partly because the movie cannot possibly give voice to the inner torments of Greene's whiskey priest, partly because in the novel the priest lived with a woman--something that could not then be shown in a film.

"The Fugitive" was shot by Gabriel Figueroa, whose splendid work -- with its plasticity, contrasts, shadows, camera positions and angles-- is one of the high points of black-and-white cinematography. Exceptionally good editing and music. This film, after "The Informer" and " The Long Voyage Home" confirmed that Ford (who, in-between , has made other movies) was also an "artistic" filmmaker.

Essentially the same mix of realism and expressionism prevails in all three films. "The Informer" was a Judas story, with clear Christ-like echoes. "The Fugitive" also has religious symbolism: a Christ-like figure, Mary Magdalen, and the Good Thief. It had a mixed critical reception and did not prove popular. It is,however,one of the best Catholic-themed movies and was one of Ford's own favorites. The current version may have a short spoken introduction (not in the original) by the unmistakable voice of an uncredited John Huston. (Edwin Jahiel)

Sunday 26 Febr 95 8:30 am, AMC