Nan Leslie's recollections of working with Lawrence Tierney are sadly unavailable. But there are some piquant details about THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE (and Tierney, too) in the writeup accompanying the film (go to http://torontofilmsociety.com/film-notes/the-devil-thumbs-a-ride-1947-2/), several of which we hope wind up in a future DVD commentary...
Regardless of how it happened, it would seem to come at the right time for the e-zine, which is in need of some fresh blood. Figure on one of her first pieces being a reprint/rework of DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE, possibly with a extension into BORN TO KILL (a re-watch has apparently shown her the errors of her ways and she is now a convert). This will very likely be followed by an expansion of a section in her recent "films I discovered in 2019 " blog post about WOMAN ON THE RUN.
Meanwhile, a positive and sharply nuanced review of WOMAN ON THE RUN, with a little less of the puffery that has come to surround it--it's good, all right, and there are certainly some pungent lines, but it's not quite as great as it has been hyped--comes from the man Eddie has described on national TV as a "gasbag." Yes, indeed--the following review is from 11/30/1950, written for the New York Times by none other than famous sour-puss Bosley Crowther:
Since it never pretends to be more than it is, "Woman on the Run," which began a stand at the Criterion yesterday, is melodrama of solid if not spectacular proportions. Working on what obviously was a modest budget, its independent producers may not have achieved a superior chase in this yarn about the search by the police and the fugitive's wife for a missing witness to a gangland killing. But as a combination of sincere characterizations, plausible dialogue, suspense and the added documentary attribute of a scenic tour through San Francisco, "Woman on the Run" may be set several notches above the usual cops-and-corpses contributions from the Coast.
Credit, of course, should go to Norman Foster, who not only directed but was the co-author of the script with Alan Campbell. Except for a few lapses toward the climax when some of his effects tend toward the flamboyant, Mr. Foster's stints are tight and direct. And, his cast, presumably following orders, avoided the banal. What seemingly is a routine hunt becomes a dual development when the wife of the hunted, unwilling at first to assist the police because her marriage has foundered, begins to learn that her artist-husband is a victim of heart disease and is not disenchanted after all. Her effort to avoid tenacious detectives to find her man thus points the story at a double goal.
That the killer, a smooth newspaper man who seemingly is aiding her, is made known halfway through the proceedings, hardly dissipates the yarn's tautness. Call this a tribute to the workmanlike script, and the players.
Among these list first Ann Sheridan, who, in shedding glamor for the role of Eleanor Johnson, makes the wife a truly confused, distraught and terrified figure. As the reporter-killer, Dennis O'Keefe fills his own characterization of himself—"a little obnoxious but pleasant"—to perfection. Robert Keith is believable as the hard working and harried detective and Ross Elliott does well in the small assignment of the unfortunate witness who was "in the wrong place at the wrong time." "Woman on the Run" will not win prizes but it does make crime enjoyable.
Aside from the plot spoilers, Crowther shows how a B-noir can be tighter in construction, thus allowing a formulaic duality the chance to carry extra emotional weight. That falls entirely on Sheridan's shoulders: her handling of the progression from disillusionment to understanding is key to hiding how by-the-numbers the action is in that accompanies her emotional transformation. Like many of the "intrepid girl sleuth" tales in noir, WOTR eventually gets caught up in its own plot contrivances, falling back on thriller conventions and implausibilities (what Crowther terms as a too "flamboyant" climax).
It will be interesting to see if an expansion of this essay is what appears in the e-zine--but to be of value beyond simply promoting product (the DVD/blu-ray set released several years back), Nora needs to expand her reach to revisit some of the territory about "girl sleuths" that Imogen Smith rather tentatively explored two or three years ago in her "good girls" essay. Time will tell....