The Runner Stumbles (1979)

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Movie Info

This melodrama is based on an actual event from the late 1920s. The tragic tale of Father Rivard -- a priest accused of killing the nun he fell in love with -- takes place in three time frames. He is seen in jail, with his lover, and on trial.

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Critic Reviews for The Runner Stumbles

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

Throughout, the film is paced by fine performances, especially Van Dyke as Father Rivard, Quinlan as Sister Rita and Maureen Stapleton as Van Dyke's housekeeper.

Nov 7, 2007 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Deadly earnestness over Van Dyke's tortured celibacy becomes risible long before the Perry Mason conclusion and a final scene of indescribable bathos.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Van Dyke's performance, though extremely sympathetic, is hard to assess. He worries and suffers, but the film finds nothing vital in his ordeal.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2/5

In its relentlessly old-fashioned way, The Runner Stumbles has a sort of dramatic persistence: It's not great, but it's there.

Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

A compelling and memorable drama, via Stanley Kramer.

Aug 27, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The main problem with the film is that inherent to most play adaptations: it's too talky and static, with most of the responsibility for story development left to explanatory dialog.

Nov 7, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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