30 Days of Noir #22: Woman On The Run (dir by Norman Foster)


Like many film noirs, this 1950 film opens with a murder.

On a dark night in San Francisco, a man attempts to blackmail an unseen person called “Danny Boy” and gets shot for his trouble.  The gunshot is heard by a frustrated painter, named Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott), who is out walking his dog.  Frank sees the dead body being pushed out of a car and then catches a shadowy glimpse of the killer.  When the killer open fires on him, Frank runs for it.

Like a good citizen, Frank goes to the police but, when he learns that the victim was due to testify against a local gangster, Frank panics and vanishes.  When Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith) goes to see Frank’s wife, Eleanor (Ann Sheridan), he’s shocked to discover that Eleanor isn’t shocked by Frank’s disappearance and that she doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.  As Eleanor explains it, Frank is a notorious coward and, years ago, their once strong marriage became a loveless charade.  Frank’s vanished and Eleanor doesn’t care.

Or does she?

While it quickly becomes obvious that Eleanor is telling the truth about not knowing where Frank is, she’s not being totally honest about no longer caring about him.  For instance, when she learns that Frank has been hiding a heart condition from her, Eleanor goes to the doctor to pick up his medicine, just in case he should happen to come by the house.  Of course, it’s not always easy to get out of the house, especially now that the police are watching Eleanor.

Eleanor wants to track down Frank without involving the police and it seems like there’s only one person who is interested in helping he do that..  Played by Dennis O’Keefe, this person is a tough reporter and he says that he wants to do an exclusive story on Frank.  He offers to help Eleanor track him down and he even says that he’ll pay $1,000 for the chance to interview Frank.  The reporter and Eleanor are soon searching San Francisco, retracing Frank’s day-to-day life and discovering that Frank loved Eleanor more than she ever realized….

What’s that?  Oh, did I forget to mention the reporter’s name?

His name is Danny.

That’s right.  Eleanor is trying to find Frank so that she can save his life and working with her is the one man who wants to kill him!

Needless to say, this leads to a great deal of suspense.  On the one hand, you’re happy that Eleanor is rediscovering how much she loves Frank.  On the other hand, you spend almost the entire movie worried that Eleanor is going to lead Danny right to him.  Shot on location in San Francisco and featuring all of the dark shadows and tough dialogue that one could possibly hope to get in a film noir, Woman On The Run is an underrated suspense gem.  Full of atmosphere and steadily building suspense, Woman on the Run features a great and acerbic performance from Ann Sheridan and a genuinely exciting climax that’s set at a local amusement park.  Seriously, roller coasters are super scary!

Woman on the Run was directed by Norman Foster.  If you’ve recently watched The Other Side of the Wind on Netflix, you might recognize the name.  A longtime friend of Orson Welles, Foster played the role of Billy Boyle in Welles’s final film.

Thanksgiving Greetings From The Shattered Lens!


From all of us at the Shattered Lens to everyone who will be observing and celebrating the holiday today, Happy Thanksgiving!

When the citizens of Jamestown, Virginia celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1610, they had no way of knowing what the future would hold for not only America but also the rest of the world.  In fact, they had no way of knowing that we would someday have movies, music, television, social media, Netflix, dark web paranoia, and hungry kitten videos on YouTube.  If you had told them that the United States would someday have a literacy rate of 77%, they would have laughed at you.  If you had told them that, at some point in the future, a black cat would send holiday greetings to humans, they probably would have accused you of practicing witchcraft.  Silly pilgrims!

But today is Thanksgiving.  It’s not only a time for giving thanks but also a time for appreciating not only what you love but also what loves you.  Be kind to your family, your friends, your cats, and even your dogs.  As for those of us at the Shattered Lens, we are thankful to you for reading and commenting.  The flame-haired one tells me that, in another month, we will be coming up on the 9th anniversary of the founding of this site!  We’re thankful for those 9 years and even more thankful for the years to come!

Thank you for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

A Thanksgiving Without Turkey? Say It Ain’t So!


cracked rear viewer

Yet that’s what the Johnson family faces in this corny time capsule “A DAY OF THANKSGIVING”, made in 1951 by the Centron Corporation of Lawrence, Kansas, purveyors of educational and industrial films from the late 40’s up until the 1990’s:

You know something? Maybe those Johnsons aren’t so corny after all!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

FROM

CRACKED REAR VIEWER!

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Music Video of the Day: Cold Turkey by John Lennon (1969, directed by ????)


Happy Thanksgiving!  It is surprisingly difficult to find any good music videos about Thanksgiving so I decided to go with a video for a song that has nothing to do with Thanksgiving.  It’s called Cold Turkey.  Whether it has anything to do with turkey depends on who you ask.

When it comes to Cold Turkey, the official and most-accepted story is that John Lennon wrote it after a brief addiction to heroin and the song was inspired by the pain and difficult of quitting “cold turkey.”

Believe it or not, though, there are Cold Turkey truthers out there.  Fred Seaman, who was Lennon’s personal assistant in the late 70s, wrote in his book, The Last Days of John Lennon, that Lennon confessed to him that Cold Turkey was actually written after a bout of food poisoning and that he allowed people to believe that it was inspired by heroin withdrawal because the food poisoning story was too silly.  (Lennon claimed the poisoning was the result of eating a “cold turkey” on the day after Christmas.)  Personally, I think this sounds more like an example of Lennon’s famously sarcastic sense of humor than anything else.

Regardless of what inspired the song, Cold Turkey was Lennon’s second single away from the Beatles and the first song on which he was credited as being the sole songwriter.  (Even Give Peace A Chance was originally credited to Lennon-McCartney.)  Lennon originally wrote the song to be included on Abbey Road but, when the rest of the Beatles showed little interest in the song, Lennon instead recorded it with the Plastic Ono Band.

In 1969, when Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen, he wrote, “I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey‘ slipping down the charts.”