Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Woman on the Run' is worth chasing after

Woman on the Run (1950)
Starring: Ann Sheridan, Dennis O'Keefe, Robert Keith and Ross Elliot
Director: Norman Foster
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

When artist Frank Johnson (Elliot) witnesses a gangland slaying and is subsequently target by the killer, he panics and goes on the run. When the police detective (Keith) in charge of the case contacts his wife, Eleanor (Sheridan) he finds an imbittered woman who is strangely uninterested in helping to locate him. But, once the police are gone, Elanor sets about tracking down her husband herself, first alone, then with the help of scoop-seeking reporter Danny Leggett. But, as Elanor draws closer to finding Frank, she unknowing leads the killer to him as well... a killer who is desperate to eliminate anyone who might identify him.

"Woman on the Run" is a well-scripted, perfectly paced film-noir style crime drama. The dialogue is particularly well-crafted, as is Elanor's gradual transformation from a surly film-noir dame to a wife who discovers that she and her husband still have a marriage worth saving. The way the film reveals the identity of the killer--who is much closer throughout the film than anyone suspects--and the casual way it demonstrates exactly how murderous and coldblooded he is, are also stellar examples of quality screen-writing and filmmaking.

With fine performances by all actors featured, an excellent script, great photography that takes full advantage of the black-and-white film medium, and a perfect music score to round out the package, "Woman on the Run" is a film that's undeserving of its obscurity... and it's a film that makes the 50-movie DVD collection "Dark Crimes " (which is where I saw it) worth the purchase price almost all by itself--which is why it's such a shame its going out of print. There are many great films in the set that will be even harder to find than they already are.


  1. Fear not! Dark Crimes is part of Mill Creek's 100-film Mystery Classics set, which has just been reissued in the new sturdier box. And yes, Woman on the Run is a definite highlight of the collection. That roller-coaster finale is great stuff.

  2. Thank you for that information! 100 movies, eh? That truly is an instant collection!