Monday 13 January 2020

A New Film a Day in 2020 (6) – WOMAN IN HIDING (Michael Gordon, USA, 1950)

As part of a run through of Ida Lupino’s career, I came across this title, made at Universal in 1950 by the unfashionable Michael Gordon.

The convoluted plot is a breathtaker. Ida, as Deborah opens in a car careening far too fast along a country road until it crashes over a bridge into a river. Twenty seven minutes later it has been revealed just how all that happened and the sequence is replayed (spoiler alert) but this time we see that the brakes and doors have been tampered with. Deborah has married in a rush and the honeymoon night is ruined when her new husband’s old flame shows up with a gun.

Deborah makes her escape and goes searching for the old flame who, inconveniently, is out of town for a while. She takes on a new identity but the husband (stone-faced Stephen McNally) knows she’s not dead and wants to find her so that he can take over her family’s business. She is befriended by a smiling drifter (played by Ida’s then husband Howard Duff) but he’s interested in the reward money until….lashings of plot…

…and so on until a noir-filled ending in the much desired factory, the location where the husband has previously offed Deborah’s father via an ‘accident’. The black and white photography by William Daniels, especially in the climax, is, to put it mildly, sensational and Gordon even manages to get some semblance of suspense into the chase around the factory stairs. The villainess/thwarted lover is played by Peggy Dow, quite a beauty. 

A rip-snorting 92 minutes with Ida yet again demonstrating that she could do a woman in peril like no other. 

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