Fay Wray
WOMAN IN THE SHADOWS;
aka, WOMAN IN THE DARK. 1934

Director: Phil Rosen

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Ralph Bellamy is John Bradley, out on parole after serving three years for manslaughter. The warden liked him & warns him to keep a handle on that temper so that he won't have to come back. He claims he intends to live in a cabin in the woods away from civilization, though when next we see him it's one fancy-ass cabin, & there's plenty of intrusive civilization.

Fay Wray is The Woman in the Shadows (1934) who shows up on John's doorstep one windy night pleading for protection from a domineering heel(Melvyn Douglas), who is something of a local gangster.

The film cohers badly from scene to scene as it cannot decide if it wants to be a dramatic romance, a tepid crime story, a drawing-room mystery, or what. Characters enter & leave the stage as in a live play, with exaggerated long steps. There's lots of standing & talking. Characters never quite speak or behave in any credible manner.

Though based on a Dashiell Hammet novelette from Liberty Magazine (a tale that Hammet never wanted collected in his life time), & despite a cast that has done interesting work elsewhere, this one's an obscure film for good reason: It has very little to recommend its ever being fished out of obscurity.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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