The Fallen Sparrow (1943)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery


The Fallen Sparrow (1943) Poster

In 1940, a former prisoner is determined to find the killer of the New York Police Lt. who helped him escape from a Nazi torture camp in Spain.


6.7/10
1,134

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  • John Banner in The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
  • Maureen O'Hara and John Garfield in The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
  • Maureen O'Hara and John Garfield in The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
  • Maureen O'Hara in The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
  • John Garfield and Martha O'Driscoll in The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
  • Maureen O'Hara and John Garfield in The Fallen Sparrow (1943)

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User Reviews


26 December 2009 | dougdoepke
Stylish
Lushly mounted espionage thriller that rivets the eye even when the narrative meanders. It's the great RKO artistic team of Musuraca, Silvera, and D'Agostino setting the stage for noir's post-war golden period, foreshadowed here by the rich b&w landscape. Garfield's a shattered veteran of the Spanish Civil War, tortured by the fascists and a mysterious limping man. Now he's back in New York trying to regain stability and find out who killed his best friend. Along the way, he meets up with sinister European types and the beauteous O'Hara looking like she stepped off a 1942 Vogue cover. Turns out everybody, including the limping man, is trying to get possession of a regimental battle standard whose whereabouts only Garfield knows. Needless to say, at times the storyline could use a road map to follow. But that's okay because the appeal lies elsewhere, as in the shadowy characters and photography.

Note how effectively Garfield's moments of derangement are highlighted by the musical score and the astute close-ups. Those penetrating few moments are hauntingly expressed as they reach into Kit's (Garfield) tortured "subjective" reality. The actor delivers in spades in a difficult role requiring that he be in about every scene. The movie's also an eye-full for the guys with three knockout leading ladies. However, despite her looks, I think the normally vivacious O'Hara is miscast, a little too stiff and impassive for the subtleties required by her character. On a different note, the limping man's dragging foot adds a creepy sound to the sinister atmosphere and is what I remember most from seeing the film as a kid. Anyway, the movie's an unusual thriller with a really great "look" that stands up well over the decades.

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