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HE RAN ALL THE WAY(director: John Berry; screenwriters: from the book He Ran All The Way by Sam Ross–an uncredited Dalton Trumbo/Hugo Butler/Guy Endore; cinematographer: James Wong Howe; editor: Francis D. Lyon; music: Franz Waxman; cast: John Garfield (Nick Robey), Shelley Winters (Peg Dobbs), Wallace Ford (Mr. Dobbs), Selena Royle (Mrs. Dobbs), Gladys George (Mrs. Robey), Norman Lloyd (Al Molin), Bobby Hyatt (Tommy Dobbs); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Kane; United Artists; 1951)
“First movie that used the setup of a family trapped in their home by a killer on-the-run.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

He Ran All The Way was the last film made by the brilliant John Garfield. The 39-year-old actor was troubled by the McCarthy witch hunt that blacklisted him, and he subsequently died from a heart attack in 1952. John Berry’s film is from the book by Sam Ross–an alias for blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Berry was also blacklisted and his name was removed from the film’s credits for a time). It was the first movie that used the setup of a family trapped in their home by a killer on-the-run, a theme used many times since.

Small-time thief Nick Robey (John Garfield) is talked into pulling a payroll truck heist his best pal Al Molin says is a piece of cake. The nervous thieves botch the robbery and Al and a security guard are severely wounded, as the edgy Nick flees with $10,000. To escape the pursuing police, Nick ducks into a public swimming pool where he strikes up a conversation with bakery worker Peg Dobbs (Shelley Winters). Taking Peg home by taxi, he ends up in her apartment where she lives with her parents and younger brother Tommy. When her parents return after seeing a movie, Nick panics thinking they learned he’s the subject of the manhunt and he holds them at gunpoint as hostages while revealing he pulled the heist. In the morning, he learns from the newspapers that the guard died and he’s wanted as the murderer. Nick now stays with the family and the father cooperates with Nick in the hopes he can get him to leave soon without harming anyone, but when Nick plans to take Peg with him by car the father draws the line and decides he must stop Nick.

Garfield gives a terrific chilling performance as someone who is less like a cold-blooded killer than someone who has been rejected all his life by family and the outside world, and like a wounded animal goes on the run as a desperate man in search of someone to trust in this cold world.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”