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The Fallen Sparrow (1943)

Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak, Patricia Morison John Garfield , Richard Wallace  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak, Patricia Morison John Garfield
  • Directors: Richard Wallace
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: RKO RADIO
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 2009
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002E7GAJM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,939 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Fallen Sparrow" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Ex-Spanish Civil War POW Kit McKitrick (John Garfield) is investigating the death of his childhood pal. But the brutality he endured at the hands of his fascist captors has left more then physical scars.

Maureen O'Hara, playing an elusive beauty who knows more then she's telling, matches her cool elegance with Garfield's electric intensity in this highly regarded psychological thriller. As Kit careens from swank Manhattan soirees to covert Nazi spy nests, he discovers if he does have the guts to confront men who lie, torture and murder in the service of Germany's crazed Führer.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of the Fallen September 30, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of John Garfield's most unheralded films, in my opinion, mostly because it has been nearly impossible to see or obtain for many years. VHS copies were rare and highly-priced, bootleg copies were hard to come by, and it was rarely shown on TV or in theaters. Recently, it was made available through the Warner Vault series, and this is a really good thing for Garfield fans. In it, Garfield plays an American who had fought with the Spanish against the Nazis, was captured and then tortured and brain-washed while being held. It is plain to see he is extremely traumatized, and the film is a very accurate portrayal of PTSD in the clinical sense.

But it is first and foremost an impassioned and suspenseful war-time drama that explores the meaning of loyalty and integrity, and the need to confront and eradicate evil. Parallels between these themes are drawn in the realms of friendship, family ties, romance, and partiotism, and in this sense the film is rather complex. Still, it never stops being entertaining and engrossing. The performances by Garfield and Maureen O' Hara are solid, taut, and highly energized; I think they call it "chemistry" and there is plenty of it. Walter Slezak is perfectly despicable as the amiable villain. The film has some proto-noirish overtones in its use of voice-over narration and the evocation of nightmarish inner states, but still falls strongly in the realm of a war-time thriller, and would make a great double bill with something like 13 Rue Madeleine. It's just so satisfying when Nazis bite the dust! Would that we had that kind of clarity in today's world!!!

My only suggestion to the potential buyer is to look at the TCM website for much better pricing (under $20) than can be currently found on Amazon. But if you want to make your life easy, and just want to see a great Garfield film ASAP, click away and let this sparrow flutter on in...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
RKO masterfully and faithfully adapted the 1943 movie version of Dorothy B. Hughes's novel THE FALLEN SPARROW (TFS), condensing the novel without watering it down. The film brings us into the mindset of troubled yet determined hero John "Kit" McKittrick (John Garfield). Kit's boyhood friend Louie had helped him escape the Spanish prison where he'd been tortured for two agonizing years after the Spanish Civil War. Back in New York City, Kit's stunned to discover Louie's been killed in a 12-story fall from a window at a party for wartime refugees Dr. Skaas (Walter Slezak) and his nephew Otto (Hugh Beaumont, pre-LEAVE IT TO BEAVER). Hell bent on proving Louie's death was neither accidental nor a suicide, Kit starts sleuthing. His grim goal: killing Louie's killer.

Kit's suspects include the women in his upscale circle. Was it Kit's alluring old flame Barby Taviton (Patricia Morison)? Lovely, sad-eyed refugee Toni Donne (Maureen O'Hara)? Songbird Whitney Parker (appealing Martha O'Driscoll. By the way, this character's name was "Content Hamilton" in the novel)? Kit's biggest obstacle: he has what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, haunted by the memory of the mysterious limping man who tortured Kit in his dark cell, trying to make him reveal where he'd hidden his regiment's battle standard. Kit imagines hearing the drag and thump that signaled his sadistic tormentor's arrival -- or IS he imagining it? Terror mounts as Kit realizes his enemies may have followed him home, maybe even planting their spies into every aspect of Kit's life, placing not only himself in danger, but also his friends and loved ones...

The role of Kit, a working-class, self-described "mug" in gent's clothing with a heart full of all-but-shattered ideals, fits John Garfield like a glove.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
RKO Radio Pictures presents "THE FALLEN SPARROW" (1943) (94 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Kit is an idealistic Spanish Civil War veteran who survives two torturous years in a fascist prison --- Upon returning to New York, he is pounced upon by Nazi agents, who hope to learn the valuable secrets that Kit would not reveal to his captors during his ordeal --- Among the methods of persuasion utilized by the Nazis is the beautiful Toni.

Although "The Fallen Sparrow" isn't one of Garfield's greatest parts or films, he's on target in every scene. Yes, it's called "talent, star quality," and Garfield's got "it."

John Garfield was borrowed from Warner Bros. by RKO Radio for the tense espionage melodrama

The Fallen Sparrow was based on the best-selling novel by Dorothy B. Hughes.

Under the production staff of:
Richard Wallace [Director]
Dorothy B. Hughes [Novel]
Warren Duff [Screenplay]
Robert Fellows [Producer]
Roy Webb [Original Music]
Nicholas Musuraca [Cinematographer]
Robert Wise [Film Editor]

1. Richard Wallace [aka: Clarence Richard Wallace] [Director]
Date of Birth: 26 August 1894 - Sacramento, California, USA
Date of Death: 3 November 1951 - Los Angeles, California, USA

2. John Garfield [aka: Jacob Julius Garfinkle]
Date of Birth: 4 March 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 21 May 1952 - New York City, New York

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars dvd won't play
as happens with some 'made to order' dvds (not sure if ALL Warners' same)
this item will not play in my Apple Superdrive. Read more
Published 2 months ago by indore
5.0 out of 5 stars John Garfield escapes Reds during Spanish Civil War who keep following...
Apparently, Garfield possesses a valuable flag or banner the enemy ( Franco's Reds) wants but will never give it up even if the "man with the limp" tries more torture... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ronald Schwartz
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Wasre Your Time, Too!
John Garfield, Maureen O'Sullivan, Walter Slazak- what a lot of talent, wasted! Like the 'fixed' drink offered to Garfield by the bad guy near the end of the film, this is a movie... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sapporo Music Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't ...' Drag Your Feet' ...
This is one of the lesser entries in the Spanish Civil War films. What makes it really worthwhile (and keeps the whole thing afloat) is the well directed (by Richard Wallace)... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Calicokid
4.0 out of 5 stars "Depends upon how to look at it"
"The Fallen Sparrow" is based on a bestselling novel by Dorothy Hughes. A former POW from the Spanish Civil War (John Garfield) returns to New York in 1940 to find the killer of... Read more
Published on June 29, 2012 by Dr. James Gardner
3.0 out of 5 stars Moderately Entertaining Communist Propaganda Spy film
turns out to be a WW2 era espionage film set in NY in Nov, 1940. Read more
Published on January 25, 2011 by The Mysterious Traveler
4.0 out of 5 stars John Garfield is great as your basic, blue-collar, hard-nosed noir...
He's known as Kit by his many friends, some who had given him up for dead. He's a traumatized POW from the Spanish civil war. Read more
Published on May 28, 2010 by JOHN GODFREY
5.0 out of 5 stars War noir
Great to finally see this 1943 gem available on dvd! Many noir films deal indirectly with the effects of war on protagonists' psychology, the complicated intrigues that govern... Read more
Published on May 18, 2010 by Frank Gorshin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fallen Sparrow
Very good movie!John Garfield is great as always! Good plot and acting by other people in the story as well
Published on May 4, 2010 by Ronald W. Mayhew
5.0 out of 5 stars Garfield's Dark Side
Dorothy Hughes' best selling suspense novel translated into one of the best early film noir movies made. Read more
Published on February 6, 2008 by General Phil Sheridan
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