The Film (4/5)
Woman on the Run is another great Film Noir right smack in the middle of its peak era. Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott) witnesses a murder, which forces him to disappear, as he is afraid that he will be retaliated against by the murderer. His wife Eleanor Johnson (Ann Sheridan) along with the policeman, Inspector Ferris( Robert Keith) and a reporter, Dan Legget (Dennis O’Keefe from another great Noir titled Raw Deal) are trying to find him. After spending days searching all around San Francisco for Frank Johnson, he is found at an amusement part by his wife, and to his chagrin, the murderer.
Woman on the Run is a real rollercoaster of a film, both figuratively and literally. The movie is loaded with atmosphere, terrific acting, plenty of suspense and a few twists. There are so many wonderful elements to this film, such as love. We learn that the marriage between Frank and Eleanor Johnson isn’t the greatest, but when he is in danger, her love for him reveals itself as she tries to save him. There is a little tongue in cheek in the film as well, mainly with the Johnson’s dog. Then there is the fantastic climax at the amusement park with rollercoasters and an irritating laughing figure which is called “A laughing Sal” which just adds to the incredible climax via this non-stop laugh. This is just a wonderfully insane and underrated film which did poorly at the box office. For Ann Sheridan, who had appeared in The Glass Key and They Drive by Night, her career after this movie went on the decline.
Once I heard Woman on the Run was getting a Blu-ray release, I immediately retired my Alpha Video DVD of it, and so should you. Just as in Too Late for Tears also from Flicker Alley, this Blu-ray is also nothing short of a visual treat. The movie, in its original aspect ratio of 1:33:1, now in 1080p with an MPEG-4 AVC transfer, is the best that I have seen this move look. And just like Too Late for Tears, while it’s not perfect, as there are some speckles and grain here and there, and a few blurry scenes. But to reiterate - this by far is the best looking release of this movie - bar none. Black levels are fine, maybe a little dark in some scenes, but overall, this is the cleanest Ive ever seen this movie. This is an excellent restoration from the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
The audio which is LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 is very serviceable with no real audio issues detected. The sound really booms during those suspenseful moments when the music hits.
Flicker Alley has provided some good extras for Woman on the Run. We are treated to an audio commentary by film historian and Film Noir guru Eddie Muller Also included on this release is “Love is a Rollercoaster: Woman on the Run Revisited” which is an in depth look at this movie, “A Wild Ride: Restoring Woman on the Run” which is a 5 minute story of the restoration of the film; "Woman on the Run Locations Then and Now", which covers the locations of where the film was shot, notably San Francisco. There is another featurette called “Noir City” which is a short documentary about Noir films that play at the Castro Theater in San Francisco every year. Finally, just like the Too Late for Tears release, there is a 24 page booklet with photos, poster art, lobby cards and more.
Woman on the Run, with this release now boasts excellent picture quality, plenty of GREAT extras and the booklet make this an easy no-brainer; this is a MUST HAVE release.