TNB Night Owl — Noir Side Street Presents “The Fallen Sparrow”

Nouvelle Vague (the residues of alphaville). Photo by Emiliano Grusovin.

Today’s selection is RKO’s 1943 spy noir thriller “The Fallen Sparrow,” starring John Garfield (John “Kit” McKittrick), Maureen O’Hara (Toni Donne), Walter Slezak (Dr. Christian Skaas), Patricia Morison (Barby Taviton), Martha O’Driscoll (Whitney “Imp” Parker), Bruce Edwards (Ab Parker), John Banner (Anton), John Miljan (Inspector Tobin), and Hugh Beaumont (Otto Skaas). Directed by Richard Wallace; cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca. Produced by Robert Fellows for RKO Radio Pictures. Edited by Robert Wise. Music by Roy Webb (the only Oscar nomination the film received was for the music). Screenplay by Warren Duff; based on the 1942 novel “The Fallen Sparrow,” by Dorothy B. Hughes.

An American who fought in the Spanish Civil War and was held as a prisoner for two years embarks on an investigation into the mysterious death of the friend who rescued him from captivity.

You can watch a trailer for the film at the IMDB link above.

Everyone gave a good performance–Slezak was particularly effective as the oily Dr. Skaas. John Banner (who played Sgt. Schultz on “Hogan’s Heroes”) was practically unrecognizable. O’Hara made a good femme fatale; it’s a shame she didn’t make another noir flick.

All in all, a good outing and certainly worth your time, should you get the opportunity to see it. I give it 4 out of 5 unfiltered cigarette puffs.

Who would you have wanted to see appear in a noir film? Tell me in the comments below.

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