Monday, 23 June 2008


It is discovering movies like this that makes trawling through the products of Hollywood's underbelly really worth while. This is a neat little film noir directed by Norman Foster. Foster's place in film history seems to rest (somewhat unjustly) on JOURNEY INTO FEAR where his perfectly adequate direction has been overshadowed by the presence of Orson Welles. Foster's more representative work would seem to be far lighter as with his work for Disney such as the very successful DAVY CROCKETT, KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER and his later TV episode work - although, intriguingly his later career includes the wonderfully entitled DEATHSHEAD VIRGIN. But, back to WOMAN ON THE RUN, which is written by Alan Campbell who was Mr.Dorothy Parker. It starts atmospherically with a man out walking his dog late at night in San Francisco. He stops to light his pipe and witnesses a shooting and is nearly shot himself by the killer. Knowing that he could identify the killer and become a target himself he goes on the run. His estranged wife (a lovely turn from Ann Sheridan) sets off in pursuit and is herself tracked by a detective and a reporter....and the killer. The first half hour or so has a real noir look to it with lots of shadows and angled photography and then the film settles down to some fascinating locations work in 50's San Francisco and a finale set in a fun fare with two dramatic rollercoaster rides, the second of which is a truly surreal montage. As well as Miss Sheridan the rest of the cast is top notch with Dennis O'Keefe as the reporter, Robert Keith as the cop and further down the cast there is John Qualen as a timid store clerk and Victor Sen Young as a Chinese cabaret dancer (honest!). The script is sharp with some really snappy repartee, especially between Sheridan and Keith and when the film chooses to reveal the identity of the killer it comes as a genuine surprise...well, it did to me. Definitely one to seek out. Rating ***


Cerpts said...

Ann Sheridan pinup of the week?!?!?!??? Oomph!!!! And another noir with Dennis O'Keefe in it?!?!?! How can I never have heard of this movie?!?!?!?!?

Weaverman said...

You will, you will! More obscure noirs coming soon.