Not to be confused with Ann Sheridan’s “Woman on the Run”, Ida Lupino stars in Universal’s Woman in Hiding (1950) as the woman who finds out ,rather dramatically, that her husband is trying to kill her.
A compelling opening has Ida, as Deborah Chandler Clark, in voice over, observing a scene below her of a river bank and people searching for something.
“That’s my body they’re looking for.”
(Her ‘devoted’ husband has tampered with her car breaks.)
You are immediately drawn into Deborah’s story as she goes on the run to escape her husband Selden Clark (Stephen McNally) who tried to kill her.
(I know, McNally doesn’t look like a ‘Selden’).
In the subsequent flashback, we learn Deborah is the daughter of a rich mill owner (John Litel ) in the small town of Clarksville – which is named after Selden Clark’ s great grandfather. Selden is the plant manager who plans to marry Deborah. He is utterly ruthless in his ambition to make Clarksville great again.
When Deborah’s father becomes an obstacle to Selden’s plans, he kills the older man and makes out it is an accident in the factory.
- A grief stricken Deborah turns to him and they are soon married. So now he runs the mill and continues seeing his girlfriend Patricia (Peggy Dow in her first film).
That dangerous McNally look!
While Deborah escapes ,Selden realises she isnt dead and sets about tracking her down.
Trying to keep out of his clutches, Deborah changes her name and arrives in another town and meets Keith Ramsey (Howard Duff) and Pops (Irving Bacon) at the bus depot news stand.
Deborah is lured back to the factory by Selden’s girlfriend and in a scene similar to the end of Sudden Fear, Selden kills the wrong girl.
With similarities to WOMAN ON THE RUN, the Ann Sheridan thriller edges it for me.
( By the way, shouldn’t Woman on the Run be Man on the Run?)
We are so used to Ida in wise-cracking, hard-boiled mode and I missed that. The rather passive character she plays is in contrast to Ann Sheridan in Woman on The Run.
Howard Duff is along for the ride (he and Lupino were married in 1951), but Stephen McNally does what he does best – be very menacing!
In the supporting cast, Don Beddoe and I. Stanford Jolley ( I love that name and am proud to say I can now name Mr. Jolley when I see him in a picture.)
A good thriller but not really a great role for Ida.