Woman on the Run

Movie Information

In Brief: Almost startlingly good — and just barely rescued from oblivion — film noir from generally overlooked director Norman Foster. Co-writing the independently produced Woman on the Run (1950) with Alan Campbell, Foster came up with an unusually intelligent (and suspenseful without being in the least graphic) noir that made excellent use of its fading stars while cashing in on the growing mania for location shooting. The essential plot is pretty basic: A man (Ross Elliott) witnesses a murder and goes into hiding rather than be put into police custody to testify against the mob. What's unusual is that it's his embittered wife (Ann Sheridan) who — with the help of a newspaper reporter (Dennis O'Keefe) — goes in search of her husband, discovering along the way that she really didn't know him at all. There's a plot twist about halfway through that you'll probably guess before you get to it, but the story remains engaging and the film is atmospheric — complete with a riot of Dutch angles. The ending obviously owes a lot to Orson Welles' The Lady from Shanghai (1947) but is still suspenseful despite the overuse of rear-screen in the scenes with Sheridan on a roller coaster.  
Genre: Film Noir Thriller
Director: Norman Foster
Starring: Ann Sheridan, Dennis O'Keefe, Robert Keith, Frank Jenks, John Qualen, Ross Elliott, J. Farrell MacDonald, Victor Sen Yung
Rated: NR

woman on the Run


Director Norman Foster made a move from playing generally pallid juvenile leads to directing in the mid-1930s, directing most of the Mr. Moto movies and three of the best of the Sidney Toler Charlie Chans. He might have hit the big time with Journey Into Fear (1942), but not only was the film cut before release, there’s a tendency to assume that producer-co-star Orson Welles really directed it. (Welles steadfastly denied this.) By 1950, Foster was more or less taking what he could get — and with Woman on the Run, he ended up with something worth doing.

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Woman on the Run  Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.