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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Rare Film Noir With Ann SheridanJune 25 2005
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Ann Sheridan was one of the more talented and charismatic actresses from the late 30's through the early 50's. She was equally at home in serious dramas such as They Drive By Night and comedies such as George Washington Slept Here. Woman on the Run is one of her rare Film Noir appearances, and it's a good one.
She plays the wife of a man who has witnessed a murder, and is now himself a target. He runs away from the police, preferring instead to hide. What becomes apparant is that their marriage has been in trouble for some time, and neither of them seems all that concerned about the other. As the movie plays out they both come to realize that they each share in the blame for the status of their crumbling marriage, and they both come to want a second chance. Sheridan's performance is particularly believable as a woman who had resigned herself to either a bad marriage or an inevitable divorce. Her turn from an indifferent wife to a woman desperate to rekindle something that she knows she herself is half responsible for losing is particularly well played, and fairly well written in the script as well.
Dennis O'Keefe is solid in this film, as usual. An underappreciated actor in his time, he has become largely forgotten - but undeservedly so. He was a very good actor who found a home in film noir, and with yet another resurgence in the popularity of that genre he may yet be discovered by a new generation (and rediscovered by older ones).
Woman on the Run is not a great movie, but it is a good one that is well worth the time for any serious fan of film noir to watch. The direction by Norman Foster is actually quite good, and the script (as noted previously) is good as well.
The DVD, on the other hand, is only passable. The picture quality is middle of the road for a public domain title, and the sound is a bit distorted (particulary at the beginning, but also at any time that the soundtrack gets louder). Still, it is watchable, and for now the Alpha (Gotham) version is the only one available on DVD. Hopefully VCI, Image, or Roan will release this one in the future, but for now I would still recommend this DVD to fans of film noir.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
More Alpha TrashDec 22 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
At least Alpha Video appears to be consistent. I've purchased two of them, and both are unwatchable. This movie would probably be a B or B+ if you could make out what the characters are saying or not be bothered incessantly by skipped dialogue and a horribe DVD picture transfer.
Even the gorgeous Ann Sheridan doesn't look so hot in this movie. It may be that God-awful hair style. Or else it's just the D-- picture quality.
Next DVD you buy - check to be certain its not an Alpha which, I believe, is Greek for awful.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"I'm not a bad guy when you get to know me...a little obnoxious, but pleasant." Ann Sheridan and Dennis O'Keefe in a fine noirFeb. 27 2009
C. O. DeRiemer
- Published on Amazon.com
What a pleasure it is to come across an old suspense noir you've either forgotten about or never heard of and discover it's a solid and engrossing movie. Woman on the Run, starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis O'Keefe, is that movie. It's the story of a man out walking his dog one night in San Francisco who witnesses a mob-related killing...and realizes the killer saw him. The cops plan to take him into protective custody but he doesn't trust them to keep him alive. He has another idea. He disappears. And when the cops visit the man's wife, they discover a woman who seems not to care one way or the other. Her marriage has been on the skids for quite awhile. She won't hinder; she won't help. She just wants out. But as she learns more about her husband, she decides he at least needs a fair chance. So before long she starts looking for the guy. And so are the cops. And so is a newspaper reporter after a scoop. And so is the killer. But no one knows where he's hiding. She decides to team up with the reporter to beat the cops and the killer to her husband. When half way through the movie we realize what's going on, and she doesn't, the tension escalates briskly. It all comes together in a beach-front amusement park at night. It may be 1950 and there's no neon, but there's lots of lights, a giggling, life-size mechanical clown, cotton candy stands, a movie house playing The Big Lift, a boardwalk filled with laughing people, pitch black shadows under the piers and the roller-coaster from hell. Woman on the Run was an indie picture. No one would confuse it with an A movie from one the crumbling major studios, but it's way above a B programmer. I'd match the last 17 minutes in the amusement park against any film.
The script is tight and the direction is more than efficient; it builds tension while encouraging us to become emotionally involved with the two leads. It uses little touches to let us get to know the characters. The drink of choice of Eleanor Johnson, the wife, is gin on the rocks. She's no lush, just a confident woman who likes gin. The drink of choice for Danny Leggett, the reporter, is an Old Fashioned ("but hold the garbage"). I'm not sure what this tells us about the two, but it's a nice switch from the usual drinks clichés.
Ann Sheridan plays Eleanor Johnson with sympathy. Sheridan, at 35, is no longer one of the great girly pin-ups of WWII. Her career was starting on the downward slope as newer pretty faces emerged. Sheridan was one of the few star actresses, in my opinion, who combined sexuality with wry intelligence. Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy and Joan Bennett also had that gift. She also was a good actress. She knew how effective underplaying could be. When she's on the roller-coaster, realizes who the killer is and tries to warn her husband, who she can see below her while the killer approaches him, is a nifty acting job that involves, well, restrained screaming. We know Sheridan's character does not enjoy the roller-coaster ride, but Sheridan does not play the damsel-in-distress bit. Her screaming is directed to her husband, trying to get his attention. But she also has to deal with those fast down slopes that turn most peoples' stomachs. She handles it like a pro. Dennis O'Keefe as Danny Leggett ("Leggett of the Graphic") was also starting the slide down into television. He's not all that appreciated now, or even remembered, but O'Keefe was a versatile and effective lead actor. "I'm not a bad guy when you get to know me," Leggett tells Eleanor, "a little obnoxious, but pleasant." It's more than pleasant to see how these two actors and the characters they play deal with each other.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Splendid flick... BUT...Oct. 1 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
"Woman on the Run" is a neglected noir which should be placed in the mainstream of the film noir canon. It is a shame that there has not yet been a high quality print put out on DVD. I agree with all the positive reviews on this site, and it is a must-see for film noir aficionados. But beware: the Alpha DVD and the Synergy Archive DVD are only minimally acceptable in visual quality. I have had the Alpha for 2-3 years; when I recently found the Synergy product I had hopes it would be an improvement over the Alpha. I would say that it is only a tiny bit better than the Alpha. I would give 4 stars for the film itself and only 2 for visual quality, averaging-out to my 3 stars.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Ann Sheridan Is Captivating in this Short Little Gem of Film Noir.Aug. 21 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
The title of "Woman on the Run" might give the impression that the woman in question is running away from something. Actually, it is her husband who is fleeing. She is running after him. The story takes place within a 24-hour period in San Francisco. While out walking his dog one evening, Frank Johnson (Ross Elliot) witnesses the murder of a grand jury witness who had been set to testify against a prominent gangster. Since Frank believes he can identify the killer, the police want to place him in protective custody. But Frank fears for his life and gives them the slip. So homicide Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith) solicits the cooperation of Frank's wife Eleanor (Ann Sheridan) in tracking him down. But Eleanor proves slippery too. She teams up with journalist Danny Legget (Dennis O'Keefe), who proposes to help her in exchange for an exclusive when they find Frank.
"Woman on the Run" revolves around the character of Eleanor Johnson, a smart-mouthed woman whose enchantment with Frank's artistic talent has turned to bitter exasperation with his lack of confidence after several years of marriage. Frank is a talented painter who works as a window dresser and stubbornly refuses to sell his work. When Eleanor learns that her husband's life may be in danger, she is torn between feelings of worry and contempt. Eleanor learns a lot about Frank that she never knew as she visits his doctor, his employer, and his acquaintances in an exhausting search that forces her to recall their early years together. The story is Eleanor's soul-searching. But Eleanor is tough-taking and quick-witted, not sentimental. Her repartee with Inspector Ferris and Danny Legget is smart and entertaining. Ann Sheridan is due the credit for making Eleanor a forceful personality whom we can believe both as a bully and as helpless. Film noir buffs will find "Woman on the Run" more than worth its short 1 hour and 17 minutes run time.
The DVD (Alpha Video 2005): This is a print in need of restoration. The picture is plagued with black and white specks, and the sound needs cleaning up a bit. This didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the film, but whether you would want to own the film in this condition is another matter. The only bonus features are a catalog of other Alpha Video titles and some previews. No subtitles.