If your looking for a nifty noir with razor sharp dialogue and a killer roller coaster ride through the streets of San Francisco then Woman On The Run is just the ticket.
Taglines – As Startling as Your OWN Scream in the Night!
Escaping for some air with an added blast of nicotine is down on his luck artist Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott). He needed to clear his head in the dead of night with that tried and tested excuse of “I’m walking the dog, honey“. Suddenly his peacefully night is woken with the crack of a gunshot followed by a yell. Frank looks up and catches a killer’s eyes as the street lights cast down. Frozen, even when the flash of fire from the gun is rallied his way! Franks suddenly realises he’s just witnessed the murderer. He reluctantly calls the cops. Ready to do the right thing he agrees to testify against the unknown assassin until the cops inform him his life will probably be in danger. “We’re gonna have to put you in protective custody Frank“. Frank’s got other things on his mind. Right in front of the cops Frank hot foots, does the quick step, right out there. Hang on a minute! He’s even left the dog behind.
Police Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith) is on the case. Best place to start? His home address. If he’s not there at least his wife Eleanor Johnson (Ann Sheridan) will help out. Eleanor – “Just like him, always running away” Inspector Ferris – “Running away from what?” Eleanor – “From everything“. Inspector Ferris realises he’s about to hit a brick wall. She doesn’t seem to care too much about him but she’s also tight lipped to his whereabouts. He warns her of the dangers and puts some of his men on guard duty.
Now our Eleanor is clever, resourceful and a tough cookie as she keeps popping navy cut cigarettes into her mouth. In a cloud of smoke she thinks. Her and Frank were estranged but they still had deep feelings for each other. She knew where he’d go if she could just escape her own home. He always ended up at the chinese restaurant down the road. His good friend Sam (Victor Sen Yung) might know where Frank is holed up? Little did Eleanor know that her quest to find her husband would result in a series of secret messages and clues. Luckily, well more reluctantly, she gets help in the form of reporter Danny Legget (Dennis O’Keefe). He’s hungry for the story and his paper will offer a thousand dollars for the exclusive. Inspector Ferris needs Frank and is hot on the trail and only a few steps behind. Danny knows the streets and how to lose a tail and besides he’s got some flirting and information gathering to do.
“Why did you come here tonight Mrs Johnson? Or shouldn’t I ask?” “Because I like it here.” “You didn’t by any chance come to meet, say, your husband did you? or is that a far-fetched supposition? supposition?, I better stop using those four syllable words I won’t be working for the Graphic anymore? Where’s your husband Mrs Johnson?” “I don’t know.” “Did he see the killer Mrs Johnson?” “I don’t know.” “Shall we dance?” “Why don’t you drop dead!“
A Few Things I’ve Learnt.
- Directed by Norman Foster who it would seem from his filmography that he somewhat had an Asian obsession? His first film was I Cover Chinatown in 1936 and then he went Japanese with six Mr Moto films. Then crossed back to China with three Charlie Chan stories and the Chinese connection within Woman On The Run.
- The film is based on a short story by Sylvia Tate which was originally called Man On The Run. Norman Foster and Alan Campbell adapted the screenplay.
- Dennis O’Keefe has been a fairly recent discovery for me with Raw Deal really knocking out some punches. Also very much enjoyed T-Men and I’m really excited to see Walk A Crooked Mile.
- Ann Sheridan was absolutely superb and pretty new to me to be honest. She was fun in the excellent They Drive By Night. Please feel free to recommend me her films. I do have Angels With Dirty Faces to get to soon.
- Woman On The Run fell into public domain and can be found to stream in pretty great quality on Youtube here
Woman On The Run features so much neat punchy dialogue that really propels this fast paced mystery thriller. Ann Sheridan is tough, determined and happy flashing the banter alongside O’Keefe. Robert Keith gets some great lines and is his usual great self. With it’s short runtime it fits in very nicely on a work night. If you haven’t seen it, give it a go I reckon you will really enjoy it. If you’ve seen it, feel free to let me know if you wish.
Keep digging and having fun with the movies. Thanks for popping on by. Mikey Wolf.