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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.
Leslie I. Carey
Russell A. Gausman
David S. Horsley
Ruby R. Levitt
Joan St. Oegger
Woman in Hiding
With Reagan literally out of the picture, Universal-International substituted contract player Howard Duff as the third leg of a noir-inflected romantic triangle, in support of Lupino and Stephen McNally (replacing first choice Bruce Bennett). The star of the long-running radio drama The Adventures of Sam Spade, Duff was new to pictures but enjoyed memorable supporting roles in Jules Dassin's Brute Force (1947) and The Naked City (1948) and opposite Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster in All My Sons (1948), an adaptation of Arthur Miller's controversial stage play. Lupino had met Duff years earlier and walked away with a less than favorable impression; after small talk during a yacht party, Lupino had called the handsome actor on his egotism, to which Duff replied "I couldn't care less." Dreading a rematch, Lupino was taken aback upon entering her dressing room for Woman in Hiding's first day of shooting to find a bouquet of white orchids, with a note reading "To Ida Lupino from Howard Duff... whether you hate me or not." The chemistry between the costars was palpable through the completion of principal photography in September 1949. (Lupino divorced Collier Young on September 20, 1951 and married Duff the very next day.) During shooting of Woman in Hiding, Lupino cadged free advice from director Michael Gordon about helming her first credited feature film and dealt with her own fear of heights for a vertiginous rooftop climax. Collecting an early paycheck on the production was Hollywood newcomer Tony Curtis, who can be heard but not seen as the voice of a bus driver.
The Lupino-Duff partnership would endure until 1966 (though the couple did not divorce until 1984), resulting in a handful of worthwhile onscreen pair-ups - among them Jennifer (1953, which Lupino seized from credited director Joel Newton in order to beef up Duff's role), Don Siegel's Private Hell 36 (1954), Lewis Seiler's Women's Prison (1955), and Fritz Lang's While the City Sleeps (1956). They fronted CBS' Emmy-nominated sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve (1957-1958), for which Collier Young served as executive producer, and lampooned their reputation as a Hollywood couple by appearing as themselves on a 1959 episode of the Lucy and Desi Comedy Hour (CBS, 1957-1960), in which they have the misfortune to share a vacation lodge with Ricky and Lucy Ricardo; they also played mister-and-missus super-villains on ABC's Batman (1966-1968). In demand throughout his long career, Duff enjoyed high profile roles in Robert Altman's The Late Show (1977) and A Wedding (1978) and played Dustin Hoffman's divorce lawyer in Robert Benton's Academy Award-winning Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) prior to his death in 1990. Plagued by ill health and a dependence on alcohol, Lupino limped through supporting roles in such low-budget fare as The Food of the Gods (1976) and The Devil's Rain (1975) before retiring in 1978. By the time of her death in 1995, Lupino was just beginning to be recognized as a key figure in the development of American independent film.
Producer: Michael Kraike Director: Michael Gordon
Screenplay: Oscar Saul, Roy Huggins, based on the novel Fugitive from Terror by James Webb
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Editing: Milton Carruth
Art Direction: Robert Clatworthy, Bernard Herzbrun
Costume Design: Orry-Kelly
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).
by Richard Harland Smith
Ida Lupino: A Biography by William Donati (University of Kentucky Press, 2000)
Ida Lupino: Beyond the Camera by Ida Lupino and Mary Ann Anderson (Bear Manor Media, 2011)
Ronald Reagan: The Hollywood Years by Marc Eliot (Harmony Books, 2008)
Woman in Hiding
Man with locker key
The film's producer appears as "end man reading newspaper".
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 Hollywood Reporter news items announced that Ronald Reagan and Bruce Bennett were to star with Ida Lupino. Some scenes were filmed on location in Fresno, CA.