Mill Creek Musings: Woman in the Shadows (1934)

John Bradley (Ralph Bellamy) is a released prisoner who has been serving time because he accidentally killed a man during a brawl — hit him a bit too hard for flirting with his girl, Helen (Nell O’Day). Knowing that he has anger issues, John decides to isolate himself by moving into and renovating a cabin that was built by his father.

(Image via Amazon)
(Image via Amazon)

Helen tries to reunite with John as soon as he’s released from prison. She’s still crazy about him. And even more trouble comes a-knocking on his door one night when a woman named Louise (Fay Wray) shows up, seeking refuge from bad weather after falling and getting lost while trying to walk to the train station.

The same night, Tony Robson (Melvyn Douglas), a man with whom she has a tumultuous relationship, shows up looking for Louise and all hell breaks loose.

Woman in the Shadows, also known as Woman in the Dark, was released in 1934. It is based on a Dashiell Hammett story and was directed by Phil Rosen. This film appears in Mill Creek’s 50 Dark Crimes set, and appears to be transferred from VHS.

Melvyn Douglas, Fay Wray and Ralph Bellamy sharing the screen… what a great cast!  They all give very good performances, as expected.

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(Screen captures by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen captures by Lindsey for TMP)

The film as a whole is a fun watch, elevated by its performances. It does have a little bit of cheese, usually in the form of very stage-y fight scenes. But it’s also a solid crime drama, with plenty of twists and — my favorite — some incorporation of flashbacks. The script itself is pretty good, and the wonderful cast makes the story even better.

Woman in the Shadows is yet another good entry into the Dark Crimes set, which has secured its spot as my favorite of the sets that I own. The score: 3.8/5

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