Sunday, February 17, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Woman Wanted (1935) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Joel McCrea and Maureen O'Sullivan star in WOMAN WANTED (1935), now available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

I found WOMAN WANTED engaging when I first saw it in 2010 and my opinion didn't change viewing the movie nearly a decade later thanks to the Warner Archive. It's a brisk, entertaining 67-minute film with a pair of appealing leads in Joel McCrea and Maureen O'Sullivan.

Having seen O'Sullivan in THE TALL T (1957) this weekend, it was quite enjoyable also seeing her in a film she had made over 20 years previously. It also occurred to me that the two films I saw her in this weekend paired her with the costars of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (1962)!

O'Sullivan plays Ann Gray, who as the movie opens is convicted of murder. Sweet Ann clearly didn't commit the crime, so the audience cheers when she escapes police custody after an accident and hops in the car of attorney Tony Baxter (McCrea), who had previously attempted to connect with pretty Ann when he saw her in a high-rise window across a courtyard.

Tony attempts to hide Ann in his apartment but with the police and his sometime fiancee (Adrienne Ames, then Mrs. Bruce Cabot) on the prowl that proves a challenge. Tony believes in Ann as soon as he hears her story but it's also going to be a challenge clearing her name, with both the police and a gang of mobsters on her trail.

WOMAN WANTED may be a fairly short, low-budget affair, but it was directed with style and played by a top cast, with Lewis Stone and Robert Greig standouts in the supporting cast as the D.A. and McCrea's butler, respectively. Louis Calhern is a gangster, and the cast also includes Granville Bates, Noel Madison, Charles Lane, Sam McDaniel, and other familiar faces. Watch for Bess Flowers in the nightclub scene.

WOMAN WANTED was directed by George B. Seitz and shot in black and white by Charles Clarke. There's some quite creative cinematography, particularly in the early sequence as the camera pans back and forth from window to window in the courthouse complex. Those touches help elevate the movie beyond being simply a mundane programmer.

The Warner Archive DVD is a good print, a bit soft at times but without major defects and with a clear soundtrack. The disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


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