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The Fugitive (1939)

On the Night of the Fire (original title)
A barber commits a petty theft, which leads to his becoming involved in blackmail and murder.


F.L. Green (novel) (as Frederick Lawrence Green), Brian Desmond Hurst (adaptation) | 5 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Richardson ... Will Kobling
Diana Wynyard ... Kit Kobling
Romney Brent ... Jimsey Jones
Mary Clare ... Lizzie Crane
Henry Oscar ... Pilleger
Dave Crowley Dave Crowley ... Jim Smith
Gertrude Musgrove Gertrude Musgrove ... Dora Smith
Frederick Leister Frederick Leister ... Inspector
Ivan Brandt Ivan Brandt ... Wilson
Sara Allgood ... Charwoman
Glynis Johns ... Mary Carr
Maire O'Neill Maire O'Neill ... Neighbour
Mae Bacon Mae Bacon ... Undetermined Role
Phyllis Morris Phyllis Morris ... Undetermined Role
Teddy Smith Teddy Smith ... Undetermined Role


A barber steals £100 from a tailor to settle his extravagant wife's debts. Discovering who committed the theft the tailor starts to blackmail the barber. When a fire breaks out in the tenements and spreads through the area the barber murders the tailor Written by tonyman5

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Cast of Inspired Players in Award Winning Performances!




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Release Date:

22 July 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fugitive See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Neighbour: [on Pilleger's murder] He was nothing but an old vampire - nothing more nor less!
Neighbour: That's right. I borrowed ten shillings from him a year ago and I'm still paying him back. At least I was.
See more »


Referenced in Terence Young: Bond Vivant (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

This Close to Film Noir
24 April 2017 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

If the only movie he had directed had been 1951's A Christmas CAROL, Brian Desmond Hurst would have been a great director. Imagine my happiness to watch this movie and discover another great movie from the man.

Ralph Richardson is a barber in a poor street in an unnamed port city; wife Diana Wynard has just given birth to a daughter and money is tight. One evening, Richardson is walking through the street. He passes by a bank and spots a pile of cash. He hops through the window, grabs it, hops back out and goes home -- to a life that involves blackmail, murder, riot and suicide.

It's about two whiskers from straight film noir. Small man seeking a place in a decent society? Check. German Expressionist cinematographer? Check (it's Gunther Krampf, whose work on NOSFERATU was uncredited). Echoes of French Poetic Realism and doom? Check. It misses on a couple of points, like the presence of actual criminal masterminds, but it delivers on almost everything else.

Ralph Richardson is superb -- as he is in every role I've seen him in. For those who like to play spot-the-star, Glynis Johns has a role with two lines in her second year in the movies; she does has a credit at the bottom of the cast list.

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