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Film / Woman on the Run

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Don't trust anyone...
Woman on the Run (1950) is a Film Noir starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis O’Keefe, co-written and directed by Norman Foster.

Frank Johnson (Ross Elliot) has just witnessed the murder of an informant and is told by the police that he must ID the murderer. Scared of being picked off by the gangster killer, Frank runs away from the police. Detective Farris (Robert Keith) then turns to Frank’s wife, Eleanor (Sheridan), who begrudgingly helps with the search until she decides to find Frank herself.

Eleanor gets help of newspaper reporter, Dan Legget (O’Keefe), and she discovers that her husband and Legget aren't what they seem.

This film is also in the Public Domain.

Do NOT confuse this with the sex-ploitation film, Women on the Run (note the plural term).

The film provides examples of:

  • Amusement Park: The climax of the film is set in an amusement park very similar to San Francisco’s Playland. There's a horrifying scene where Eleanor is stuck on a roller coaster while Frank is in immediate danger.
  • Brutal Honesty: Eleanor makes it very clear to Det. Farris that her marriage with Frank isn’t on good terms.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Any movie with Ann Sheridan is going to have some droll, sarcastic remarks.
  • Dramatic Irony: We're shown halfway that Danny is the murderer because he has the same lighter and name from the beginning scenes.
  • Femme Fatale: At first, it looks like Eleanor doesn’t care if her husband is found dead, but it’s soon apparent that she truly loves him and wants him to return safely especially after she learns that he has a heart condition.
  • Fiery Redhead: Eleanor won't take any crap from anyone. She runs away from the police twice and is determined to find Frank.
  • Film Noir: A rediscovered gem from the classic era.
  • He Knows Too Much: The killer revealed to be Danny is on the hunt for Frank, and he kills Susie from the restaurant that Eleanor and Frank frequent.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Only Frank, the killer, the detective, and Eleanor know that the murderer shot at Frank but missed because he was aiming at his shadow. Danny inadvertently gives this slight information away, tipping Eleanor off that he's the murderer, but she's stuck on the roller coaster and can't do anything about it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At first, Eleanor thinks Frank is all jerk, but it turns out he’s a sweet man, and she's been the jerk all along.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Rembrandt, the Johnsons’ dog, is as loyal as they come. Ann uses him to escape Farris by putting hot sauce in his food and taking him to the vet in order to escape.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Witnessing a murder slowly brings Eleanor and Frank together, but it's mostly Eleanor who has to do the changing.
  • The Reveal: In the middle of the film, it’s revealed that Danny is the killer and is trying to find Frank through Eleanor.
  • Starving Artist: Frank and Eleanor have lived the bohemian lifestyle.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Eleanor can be gruff and sarcastic but also sweet whenever she remembers the good times with Frank. And upon finding out that he still loves her, she's much happier.
  • Sunshine Noir: The look of black and white film doesn't help with the sunniness, but the backdrop of San Francisco certainly does.
  • Tagalong Reporter: Danny stalks Eleanor around the city to get her story about Frank, and she eventually lets him tag along because he promises money for the story. She hopes to use it for a fresh start with Frank.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Danny wants more than a story for his newspaper… He wants to find the only witness to his crime and kill him. He does, however, like Eleanor so much that he makes it a point to avoid having her around when he tries to kill Frank.