Woman on the Run (1950) is an American film noir directed by Norman Foster and starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis O’Keefe. Members of the supporting cast include Robert Keith, John Qualen, Ross Elliot, and Frank Jenks. The cinematography was by Hal Mohr (Captain Blood, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Phantom of the Opera).
Frank Johnson (Elliot), a down-on-his-luck painter is a witness to a murder while walking his dog. Because Frank got a good look at the killer, the police are anxious to get him into protective custody. Frank having second thoughts about possibly testifying against the killer goes missing. Inspector Martin Ferris (Keith) finds Johnson’s wife Eleanor (Sheridan) and tries to get her to reveal where he is hiding. The problem is that Eleanor has no idea. Ferris soon discovers that things between Eleanor and Frank aren’t perfect so maybe Eleanor is in no rush to find Frank. Enter Daniel Legget, a local reporter who tries to help her find her husband if he can get an exclusive on the story. During Frank’s absence, Eleanor learns things about her husband that she didn’t know anything about including a heart condition that he is taking medication for.
Will Frank eventually show up safe and sound, or is he doomed to die at the hands of the killer he saw the night he was walking his dog?
Norman Foster (1903 – 1976) was an American actor, film director, and screenwriter. Foster was a stage film actor. Foster was a popular film actor during the pre-Code era. One of his popular pre-Code efforts was Rafter Romance (1933) co-starring Ginger Rogers. During his directing career he directed several films in the Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto series. He directed feature films including Kiss the Blood off My Hands (1948) starring Joan Fontaine and Burt Lancaster and Rachel and the Stranger (1948) starring Loretta Young, William Holden, and Robert Mitchum. He also directed the Zorro and Davey Crockett television series for Walt Disney. Foster was married to Claudette Colbert from 1928 to 1935.
Ann Sheridan (1915 - 1967) was an American actress and singer. Her movie career began in 1934 where she appeared in 19 films! Her roles were all small and mostly unbilled, but she appeared in another 20+ films before she was signed to Warner Bros. in 1938. She was given better roles and was groomed for major stardom. The studio dubbed her “The Oomph Girl,” a title she hated but helped contribute to her popularity. During World War II she was a popular pin-up girl. As a star, Sheridan starred in Angels Wash Their Faces (1939), Castle on the Hudson (1940), It All Came True (1940), They Drive by Night (1940), City for Conquest (1941), and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942). During this time she starred opposite Warner’s top leading men including John Garfield, James Cagney, and George Raft. Her biggest success during this period came with Kings Row (1942), a film in which she received top billing over Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, and Betty Field. Sheridan made the transition to television and was starring in the weekly western series, Pistols 'n' Petticoats (1966-67) when she became sick with cancer. She died on January 21, 1967, at the age of 51.
Dennis O’Keefe (1908 – 1968) was an American film actor. O’Keefe started out as a film extra in 1931 under the name Bud Flanagan. He had a small role in Saratoga (1937) which led to a contract with M-G-M. At that studio, they changed his name to Dennis O’Keefe. He left M-G-M in 1940 but found work in low-budget films. In the mid-1940s, he was under contract to producer Edward Small. During this time, he made the film-noir classics T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948). A heavy smoker, O’Keefe died of lung cancer at the age of 60.
|Ann Sheridan and Dennis O'Keefe|
Woman on the Run trivia
- The film was restored by Eddie Muller's own organization Film Noir Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Charitable Trust. in 2008.
- Ross Hunter who would go on to be the producer of melodramas like Magnificent Obsession (1954) and Imitation of Life (1959) was the dialogue director.
- Ann Sheridan hoped that this film would revitalize her career after she bought out her contract at Warner Bros. She also was hoping for a hit because she had a finacial stake in the film as well.
- The film was shot on location in San Francisco.
To watch the film on YouTube, click the link below.
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- Was the on-location shooting in San Francisco a plus?
- Having a female protagonist in a film noir isn't the norm. Does the film work with Ann Sheridan as the central character?
- What did you think of the film's cast? The film has some great character actors in it. Did you have any favorites?
- Did you have a favorite scene or piece of dialogue?
- Was there anything about this film that surprised you?
- When the truth was revealed did it make sense to you?