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Joseph H. Lewis
Dame May Whitty,
Deborah Chandler's rejected suitor, Selden Clark, manages the factory of her father, who dies: did he fall or was he pushed? But charming Clark manages to win her over and marry her. On the honeymoon, Clark's former girl Patricia intervenes and opens Deborah's eyes, alas too late. Now Clark tries to kill Deborah. Believed dead by all but Clark, she flees. But drifter Keith Ramsey recognizes and follows her. Can she trust him? Can he believe her? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Effective "lady in distress" tale with Lupino as woman on the run...
As in almost all of these suspenseful melodramas from the '50s, there are certain lapses in logic throughout WOMAN IN HIDING that had me shaking my head in disbelief. Some of the choices that Lupino makes as the vulnerable heroine are too foolhardy to be believable, but once the plot starts rolling there's no turning away.
A particularly bad choice is the scene where she casually gets into a car with Peggy Dow, a scorned woman who is leading her into a trap which brings her right back to the man (Stephen McNally) she is hiding from at a dark and sinister mill.
But despite such motivational flaws, the film manages to be a better than average melodrama with all three leads--Ida Lupino, Howard Duff and Stephen McNally--giving expert performances.
Most effective aspect is the tight pace of the story and the film noir look of the B&W photography. Ida Lupino gives another one of her tense performances as she gets caught up in the excessive manipulations of McNally who is intent on killing her to inherit her father's mill. Howard Duff tries to help once he understands her fears and from that point on the story leaps forward to a satisfying ending involving a trick later used to good effect in Joan Crawford's "Sudden Fear." Not a great film, but a satisfying "lady in distress" melodrama.
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