Warner Archive continues to prove that they don't make 'em like that anymore regarding the recent expertly remastered DVD of the 1935 noircom "Woman Wanted" starring Maureen O' Sullivan and Joel McCrea, This tale of wrongly convicted "innocent" Ann Gray on the lam hooking up with playboy attorney Tony Baxter (McCrea) has strong shades of the more comedic 1931 classic "The Front Page." That one has a newshound hiding a convicted murderer on the afternoon of the scheduled execution of the latter.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Woman" demonstrates the "Thin Man" style melange of crime drama and humor. This is not to mention the hysterically crude special effects.
"Woman" opens in a very "Page" centric manner. Gray is in a conference room waiting for the verdict in her trial for a murder that she did not commit. Baxter merely seeing her from a room on the other side of the building prompts making a mimed move without knowing her purpose for being in the courthouse.
The opening scenes also introduce the audience to the gangsters with a horse in the race. We only get a portion of the story in learning that Gray frying in Old Sparky will cost the crime boss a cool $250G.
This fiscal motivation prompts the aforementioned respectable businessman to arrange a "Fugitive" style crash on the way to the prison where Gray will be a dead woman walking. This plan goes awry when Gray takes a powder after the collision.
Amusement ensues when Baxter discovers the current object of his affection on the running board of his car while he is driving. Her quickly suggesting that they go to his place provides him even more reason to believe that he is being rewarded.
This couple that can state when they met it was murder soon arrive at the swanky bachelor pad of Baxter. This amenities of this abode include loyal but quirky gentleman's gentleman Peedles.
Baxter still is in the dark when Gray requests an opportunity to freshen up; the arrival of designing woman Betty Randolph complicates things.
Our central couple soon heads out to a farmhouse in the country in support of the cause of Gray; things not going as well as expected prompts a backwoods chase that leads to hilarity as Baxter takews a book from both Bugs Bunny and Shaggy and Scooby in donning a hasty disguise to avoid a fate equal to death.
Of course, both the coppers and the gangsters close in on Gray. This leads to a well-executed (no pun intended) 11th-hour showdown as Baxter must rescue his damsel in distress.
In true classic Hollywood style, all end up where they need to be in a manner that restores faith in the American judicial system.
The bigger picture regarding all this is that "Woman" shows that a film can do a good job providing something for everyone when all concerned play their roles.