WOMAN IN HIDING (aka: FUGITIVE FROM TERROR)
(director: Michael Gordon; screenwriters: Oscar Saul, Roy Huggins/based on the Saturday Evening Post magazine serial Fugitive from Terror by James Webb; cinematographer: William H. Daniels; editor: Milton Carruth; cast: Ida Lupino (Deborah Chandler Clark), Stephen McNally (Selden Clark), Howard Duff (Keith Ramsey), Peggy Dow (Patricia Monahan), John Litel (John Chandler), Taylor Holmes (Lucius Maury), Irving Bacon (Pops Link), Joe Besser (Loud salesman Convention Reveler with drum), Don Beddoe (salesman conventioneer); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Michael Kraike; Universal International; 1950)
“Patchy melodrama with too many contrived suspense escape scenes and too pat an ending to be anything better than a modest thriller, but Ida Lupino as the damsel-in-distress is terrific.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Patchy melodrama with too many contrived suspense escape scenes and too pat an ending to be anything better than a modest thriller, but Ida Lupino as the damsel-in-distress is terrific. Michael Gordon (“Pillow Talk”/”Boys’ Night Out”/”Cyrano de Bergerac”) directs in a workmanlike and capable way. Writers Oscar Saul and Roy Huggins base it on the Saturday Evening Post magazine serial Fugitive from Terror by James Webb.
Mill owner John Chandler (John Litel) dies in a suspicious accident at his Clarkville factory after expressing contempt for plant manager Selden Clark (Stephen McNally), who wants to marry his reluctant daughter Deborah (Ida Lupino). After her father’s death, the vulnerable daughter succumbs to the greedy Selden not realizing he’s more interested in the mill than her. On her wedding night, at a remote cabin in the Smokey Mountains near the North Carolina town of Clarkville, a town named after Selden’s great-grandfather who was the original owner of the mill, Debbie discovers hubby still has a jealous girlfriend, Pat Monahan (Peggy Dow), from Raleigh, who is waiting in the honeymoon cabin. Debbie runs away that night after telling her menacing hubby she intends to annul the marriage, but finds the car brakes were tampered with and crashes into the bridge as the car goes in the river. The fearful Debbie is alive and hides in the woods until the next morning, and since she thinks no one will believe her story she hops a bus to nearby Raleigh to see if Pat will help. When Pat is not home, Debbie tries living in Raleigh under an alias until Pat’s expected return within a few weeks but newspaper stories run her photo and since her body hasn’t been recovered her suspicious hubby offers a $5,000 reward for any info. When the handsome gentle drifter Keith Ramsey (Howard Duff), a returning GI sergeant and college grad, temporarily working as a clerk at a newsstand, identifies her from the newspaper photo, he tries to help her when he senses she’s in trouble by quitting his job and following the frightened lady by bus to Knoxville and then mistakenly thinks he can help her best by notifying hubby he located her. During a boisterous convention at Debbi’s Knoxville hotel, Selden appears and would have killed her in the hallway but for an obnoxious reveler (Don Beddoe) interfering.
The conclusion has Keith falling in love and now believing Debbie’s story, and helping her fight off her killer hubby who has her trapped in a Raleigh warehouse and aims to push her to her death from a great height like he did to her father.
After the film’s release and the 1951 divorce from writer Collier Young, Ida married Duff. A marriage that lasted until 1966 (though the couple officially divorced in 1984).
REVIEWED ON 12/20/2012 GRADE: B-