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A young woman who owns a coffee shop falls for a handsome young customer, unaware that he is a gangster. The association results in her being tried and sentenced to a long prison term. However, the authorities permit her to escape, hoping that she will lead them to her boyfriend. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
It's only 1935, but Mary Burns appears to be a self-sufficient woman. She manages her own business, the Coffee Cup, "one hundred miles from nowhere," way out where the eggs come from a nearby farm and where they still have church socials. How can this independent woman become a victim? Well, no one is really independent of all the world, are they? Her great sin is to trust. She lets herself rely on a man who will likely never have any character witnesses if he is ever brought before a court of justice. Then, once accused of aiding and abetting his criminal acts (a false charge), her next human mistake is to fail to adequately defend herself before an aggressive prosecutor.
But she does have nerve, which leads to a freedom of sorts. Of course, now she's "Mary Burns, Fugitive" so she isn't completely free. She has shadows: the law, and the man she never really knew. He's a fugitive, too, and even a killer. But wouldn't you know, he seems to genuinely care about Mary and comes out of hiding several times to try to link up with her. Thus, Mary is an innocent, she never knew "her man" was a felon, and she has no use for him now. But the police are determined to use his undying soft spot his weakness for her to track him down.
This film is a product of Hollywood and it's no gritty film noir. But it has some 1930's gangster-film touches (wisecracking dames and lock-jawed tough guys). Anyway, it's nice to be reassured. And I never mind seeing Melvyn Douglas play a hero.
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