“Harrison Ford Was Acting On The Fly In One Of The Fugitive’s Best Scenes”
The scene leading up to the parade sees Kimble fleeing from deputy U.S. marshal Samuel Gerard (Jones, in an Oscar-winning role) through Chicago City Hall. He gets his foot caught in the sliding doors and Gerard fires several gunshots at him, hitting the bulletproof glass but establishing the stakes of the scene as life or death. After Kimble extricates himself from the doors, he heads out into the street and gets caught up in the flow of the parade, taking off his jacket to blend in as Gerard and fellow deputy marshal Henry (Johnny Davenport) search fruitlessly for him.
According to RogerEbert.com — named, of course, for the famed film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times — this scene in “The Fugitive” was “a largely improvised affair.” It put Ford in a position, much like the wanted man he was playing, where he was trying to go unrecognized in the parade crowd. Despite being a big movie star with the original “Star Wars” and Indiana Jones trilogies behind him, Mental Floss notes that the actor was able to go several minutes without being noticed.
Spur of the moment
The camerawork in “The Fugitive,” on the other hand, keeps the viewer on the ground and lets them share Kimble’s fear of being apprehended and Gerard’s frustration as he looks everywhere for Kimble in the parade but comes up empty-handed. It’s a great scene that shows sometimes a run-and-gun filmmaking approach works and can actually enhance the spontaneous feel of a movie as actors like Ford and Jones work to adapt to an event while it unfolds in real time.
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