Ann Sheridan in Woman on the Run (1950)

A Woman Around San Francisco

Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott) is out walking his dog when he witnesses the gangland murder of a man due to give testimony in a court case. For the cops Frank becomes key to that case but for Frank he fears his life is in danger even with Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith) saying they will put him into protective custody. It is why Frank manages to run when Ferris is not looking, although when the Inspector talks to Frank's wife Eleanor (Ann Sheridan) she suspects he is just running from their failing marriage. But after learning that Frank has a medical condition she finds herself joining forces with newspaperman, Danny Leggett (Dennis O'Keefe), to try and find him whilst the cops are not only doing the same but also keeping a track of Eleanor. Question is who is going to find Frank first; Eleanor, the cops or the killer.

Warning this review contains a spoiler, most of the reviews I read have, so if you would rather not know just find a copy of this movie and watch it. Now "Woman on the Run" is a movie which really works on 3 levels although maybe those who know San Francisco can also add the nice views to what works in this movie. The first level on which the movie works is Ann Sheridan's performance of Eleanor as she makes her an incredibly cold and bitter when it comes to both the police but also her husband but not so much that you think she is completely uncaring. At the same time the character of Eleanor is written as this smart cookie who doesn't trust the police and makes things difficult. It means that as the movie progresses Eleanor's character evolves especially when it comes to her feelings for her husband.

The second level on which "Woman on the Run" works is that Frank is getting cryptic messages to Eleanor, left at places they would go so that she can meet up with him at a specific place. There is a bit of cleverness to this but the cleverness comes from the third level on which the movie works and here is the spoiler as Danny the newspaperman is in fact the killer and he is using Eleanor to get to Frank. The thing is that the way the movie comes together you suspect Danny is not as he seems purely because we don't get scenes of shady figures following them to make them you think someone else is involved. As such when we get to the inevitable dramatic climax you suspect Danny will reveal some thing about himself. As for that dramatic ending, well some love the dramatic nature which sees Eleanor on a rollercoaster realising what has happened but for me it just didn't grab me.

What this all boils down to is that "Woman on the Run" is an okay movie, nice a little thriller but one which for those who are observant to what is missing, as in scenes of shady figures following Eleanor, will find it predictable in structure.