Dr. Richard Kimble is accused as the murderer of his wife, tried and convicted. On his way to be executed, he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed his wife. Kimble, pursued by Lt. Gerard, risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble. Written by
Florian Baumann <email@example.com>
Roy Huggins initially had great difficulty selling the series to potential producers. Many thought that a series based on a wrongfully convicted man running from the law would be too perverse, as well as a slap in the face to the American justice system. Producers felt that no one would want to watch such a series and urged Huggins to give up on the concept. See more »
The Fugitive, a QM Production, starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, an innocent victim of blind justice, falsely convicted for the murder of his wife, reprieved by fate when a train wreck freed him en route to the death house; freed him to hide in lonely desperation, to change his identity, to toil at many jobs; freed him to search for a one-armed man he saw leave the scene of the crime; freed him to run before the relentless pursuit of the police lieutenant obsessed with his capture.
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According to both my ears and the book 'TV's Biggest Hits' by Jon Burlingame, much of the music we hear in the episodes of the original version of the TV series 'The Fugitive', first appeared on 'The Twilight Zone'. In fact the musical director of 'The Fugitive', once he heard that the show was coming to an end, went up to the late, great, Jerry Goldsmith, who has composed the original tracts when they were used on 'The Twilight Zone', and said 'What's this I hear: they're going to cancel 'our' show!'.
Still, it was an appropriate choice as Richard Kimble spent four years in his own, personal 'Twilight Zone'. If you look at most of the classic episodes of the earlier show, they involve a troubled hero finding himself in a world that doesn't seem to make any sense any more. He convinces himself if he can figure it out, or find a way out of it, things will be OK again. But he never seems to make it- just like so many of our dreams. Kimble's world is shattered by an argument with his wife and her subsequent murder. He's on the run in his own country, now suddenly hostile to him. He has to suppress his emotions and hide his identity while he pursues 'the way out': the one-armed man; and avoids pursuit by Lt. Gerard, the symbol of all his fears. Goldsmith's music was very well used.
I heartily agree with those that rank this as the best TV series ever. Leonard Goldenson was right: it's the best concept for a show ever. Also the best execution. David Janssen's performance is amazing. He's deprived of most of an actor's tools: he keeps his head down and says as little as possible in order to avoid recognition. Yet he conveys this character's feeling perfectly. The tremendous array of guest actors, playing characters in their own little psychological prisons adds great depth to the show. The directing was sharp, well-paced and uncluttered with too many obvious 'techniques'. The writing was consistently good. Pete Rugolo's wonderful main musical theme could be played allegro for excitement or largo for poignancy- and this was the most poignant show ever. It was about psychological alienation. The only other shows I can think of that reached this deep were 'The Twilight Zone' and, occasionally, 'Star Trek'.
This was one of the few classic TV shows of which a movie version was later made that was any good at all. Roy Huggins, the creator of the show, had some input into the Harrison Ford film. That film, compared to the TV show, is rich in money, production values and excitement. It has flashes of characterization that give the action more meaning than most modern day flicks. However the TV was rich in time, with four years of hour long episodes to tell all its various stories. In the end that made it far more moving. If only the film could have been the ending of the TV show, ('The Judgment' is not really all that good, despite its historical ratings).
My dream ending for the show is Kimble leaving the courthouse and suddenly finding himself surrounded by the women who fell in love with him in all his travels, and then running down the street to escape from them! Actually, I think it would have been nice if he found Vera Miles and the boy from 'Fear in Desert City' waiting for him. That would have been the most poetic ending of all. I wonder what Goldsmith might have written for that.
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