8.21.2008

Woman on the Run




Dennis O'Keefe and Ann Sheridan in Woman on the Run (dir. Norman Foster, 1950).

I hope somewhere, someday, there's a better transfer of Woman on the Run than the gritty, blurry one on the DVD I watched, because this is one of the premier gems of noir lite. It's a Hitchcockian thriller-adventure with Ann Sheridan as a woman who's fallen out of love with her artist husband--until he goes missing after witnessing a murder. An intrepid reporter, played by Dennis O'Keefe, steps in to help her track him down. The gender ideology is 50/50: on the one hand, it's the old familiar moral about standing by your man and supporting the postwar economy by performing the duties of the subservient domestic wife, but on the other, Sheridan plays this character with depth and guts. There are also some supporting Chinese characters who are refreshingly scripted as hip, creative, and non-stereotypical (even though one of them gets offed).

The amusement park climax, which features a nailbiting roller coaster sequence, and which very well could have inspired relevant parts of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, is fantastically great, and is one of the points where I was practically in tears over the poor quality of the print. The San Francisco location shooting overall would be magnificent if the movie were properly restored.

The script is first-rate, full of startling plot developments and "snappy," smart dialogue.

Drunk woman at Sullivan's Grotto: "Say, why don't you wear a hat?"
Ann Sheridan: "I look funny in hats."
Drunk woman: "You know, you're right?"

1 comment:

zzi said...

WOW. I forgot the name of this film. I wonder if Netfix has it. It's good. tried to explain it many time. I hope it's the one where the police come to her front door at the beginning.