AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Woman in Hiding
Alternate Title: Fugitive from Terror
Director: Michael Gordon (Dir)
Release Date:   27 Dec 1949
Production Date:   early Jul--6 Sep 1949
Duration (in mins):   93
Duration (in feet):   8,277
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Cast:   Ida Lupino (Deborah Chandler Clark [also known as Ann Carter])  
    Stephen McNally (Seldon Clark)  
    Howard Duff (Keith Ramsay)  
    Peggy Dow (Patricia Monahan)  
    John Litel (John Chandler)  
    Taylor Holmes (Lucius Maury)  
    Irving Bacon (Link)  
    Don Beddoe (Fat salesman)  
    Joe Besser (Salesman with drum)  

Summary: After a car careens off a bridge into a river in the Smokey Mountains near the North Carolina town of Clarkville, Deborah Chandler Clark watches the rescue attempts from a hiding place in the woods. It was her car that crashed, and the searchers are looking for her body. While she watches, Deborah thinks back to the events that led to the accident: At the mill owned by her father, John Chandler, Deborah encounters the handsome Seldon Clark, general manager of the mill. He apologizes to Deborah for neglecting her and is surprised to learn that she is leaving town for New York. Although Deborah was romantically involved with Seldon, Chandler makes it clear that he disapproves of the man and his family, the original owners of the mill and the town's founders. Back at home, Deborah has finished packing when news comes that her father has been seriously injured. After he dies, Seldon proposes and eventually, Deborah accepts. When they arrive at a mountain cabin for their honeymoon, a woman named Patricia Monahan is waiting. She taunts Deborah by telling her that Seldon has been visiting her in Raleigh and that they have spent time together in this cabin. When Seldon slaps her, Patricia accuses him of marrying Deborah for her money and implies that he killed Chandler. An unnerved Deborah tells Seldon that she will have the marriage annulled. Seldon admits that he wants the mill and will stop her from leaving him. That night, Deborah sneaks from the cabin, unaware that Seldon is watching her. As she drives down the steep mountain road, she realizes that her breaks are dead, and shortly afterward, crashes. Later, Deborah awakens on the river bank onto which she managed to jump. She sees Seldon searching for her body, but evades him in the dark. Certain that no one will believe her story, Deborah decides to pretend to be dead until she can contact Patricia, who she hopes will back up her story. Leaving the bus in Raleigh, Deborah buys a paper, and Keith Ramsay, a former soldier now working at the newsstand, flirts with her. Flustered, Deborah hurries away. To her further distress, she learns that Patricia is out of town. Using the name Ann Carter, she finds a job as a waitress. In the meantime, Seldon, who is not convinced that Deborah is dead, offers a $5,000 reward for information about her. When Deborah sees her picture in the paper, she quits her job and takes the bus to Knoxville. Keith recognizes her immediately and follows her on to the bus. In Knoxville, he asks her to dinner and then calls Seldon. After telling Keith that he is unable to get to Knoxville, Seldon leaves the mill early and drives there. Keith and Deborah eat dinner and return to her hotel, which is filled with conventioneers. In the crowd, Deborah becomes separated from Keith. Seldon spots her and chases her into the stairwell. He starts to push her over the edge, but is interrupted by the conventioneers. The next morning, a hysterical Deborah tells Keith who she is and that Seldon has been trying to kill her. Later, Keith, who believes Deborah is emotionally disturbed, takes her to the train and a waiting Seldon. As he gets off the train, one of the conventioneers mentions seeing Seldon the night before, and Keith realizes that he has not been telling the truth. Meanwhile, Deborah learns that Seldon plans to have her committed to a mental institution. She escapes from the train and is joined by Keith, who has flown to meet her. Deborah finally finds Patricia, who agrees to help her but, after leaving Keith behind, delivers her to Seldon at the mill. Seldon decides to kill her the same way he killed her father, but in the dark mistakes Patricia for Deborah and pushes her to her death. Keith arrives and during the ensuing fight, Seldon is killed. Much later, Keith and Deborah arrive in Angels Cove, California, where they will begin their married life. 

Production Company: Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Michael Gordon (Dir)
  Frank Shaw (Asst dir)
Producer: Michel Kraike (Prod)
Writer: Oscar Saul (Scr)
  Roy Huggins (Adpt)
Photography: William Daniels (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Bernard Herzbrun (Art dir)
  Robert Clatworthy (Art dir)
Film Editor: Milton Carruth (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Russell A. Gausman (Set dec)
  Ruby R. Levitt (Set dec)
Costumes: Orry Kelly (Gowns)
Music: Milton Schwarzwald (Mus dir)
Sound: Leslie I. Carey (Sd)
  Robert Pritchard (Sd)
Special Effects: David S. Horsley (Spec photog)
Make Up: Joan St. Oegger (Hairstylist)
  Bud Westmore (Makeup)
Production Misc: Lew Leary (Unit mgr)
Stand In: Sid Troy (Stand-in for Stephen McNally)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the serial story "Fugitive from Terror" by James Webb in The Saturday Evening Post (9 Apr--7 May 1949).
Authors: James Webb

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 17/3/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP238

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Suspense
Subjects (Major): Duplicity
  Missing persons, Assumed dead
Subjects (Minor): Automobile accidents
  Conventions (Gatherings)
  Falls from heights
  Fathers and daughters
  Impersonation and imposture
  News vendors
  North Carolina
  Search and rescue operations

Note: The film's working title was Fugitive from Terror . Although Howard Duff's credit appears before Stephen McNally's in the opening credits, McNally is listed first in the end credits. Pre-release HR news items announced that Ronald Reagan and Bruce Bennett were to star with Ida Lupino. Some scenes were filmed on location in Fresno, CA. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   17 Dec 1949.   
Film Daily   27 Dec 49   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Apr 49   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   24 May 49   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Jul 49   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jul 49   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Sep 49   p. 11
Hollywood Reporter   14 Dec 49   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   17 Dec 49   pp. 121-22.
New York Times   23 Feb 49   p. 33.
Variety   14 Dec 49   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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