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(aka 'Abandoned Woman')

Directed by Joseph M. Newman
USA
1949

 

Dennis O’Keefe and Gale Storm expose a baby-selling racket in the searing crime drama Abandoned, co-starring Jeff Chandler and Raymond Burr. When Paula Considine (Storm) arrives in Los Angeles to find her sister Mary, she soon learns the unwed mother is dead and her newborn infant is missing. Teaming up with cynical reporter named Mark Sitko (O’Keefe), Paula discovers Mary was the victim of a black market adoption ring run by Mrs. Leona Donner (Marjorie Rambeau) and her sleazy assistant Kerric (Burr). Hoping to entrap the pair, Paula and Sitko devise a plan but the sting operation proves to have deadly consequences.

***

While Abandoned boasts a boat load of colorful characters; Shoeshine Sammy, Morrie the Bookie, Doc, Winey, Punchy, and Scoop seemingly plucked from the beloved New York streets of Damon Runyon this film ain’t no Guys and Dolls. It’s more like Babes for Dough, a rough and dark social commentary/police procedural on the heinous crime of selling unwanted newborns in addition to the assorted murders, and double dealings that accompany this path to ill gained riches.

Abandoned, produced by Universal in 1949 rolls its opening credits to the melodic stains of a prior Uni noir, 1946’s The Killers. While there’s no Charles McGraw or William Conrad emerging from the shadows we do get Dennis O’Keefe, as Mark Sitko a world-weary newshound and Raymond Burr as Kerric a crook in gumshoes clothing, both a couple of not too shabby noir stalwarts for viewers to feast upon for the next 78 minutes. It bears noting, while Burr doesn’t get star billing, he’s literally the biggest thing in the picture!

Excerpt from FilmNoiroftheWeek located HERE

***

As such it is a routine cops-and-mobsters number. Director Joe Newman moves his cast quickly, if not with too much imagination, through authentic Los Angeles locales from the opening, when his distraught heroine goes to the police seeking her missing sister and her baby, through the ultimate clean-up of the gang. In between, the usual number of informers, villains, and cops strew and follow clues and a handsome reporter and a forthright district attorney are in the vanguard lending willing assists to the anxious lady.

Gale Storm is natural and engaging as the harried young lady who manages to rescue her niece, if not her sister. However, Dennis O'Keefe, as the brash, fearless and charming newspaper man and her romantic partner, seems closer to fiction than fact. Jeff Chandler turns in a competent characterization as the D. A. as do Marjorie Rambeau, as the dowager leader of the ring preying on unwary unwed mothers; Will Kuluva, as her sadistic henchman; Raymond Burr, as a double-dealing private sleuth, and Meg Randall, as an expectant mother who helps expose the gang.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 6th, 1949

Recently Released Essential Noirs

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DVD Review: Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:19:15 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Bitrate:
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: November 15th, 2016

Keep Case
Chapters: 9

 

 

 

Comments:

Abandoned is another elusive, and above average, Essential Noir that hasn't surfaced on digital previously. It's advanced with the solid storytelling skills of Joseph M. Newman (711 Ocean Drive, This Island Earth, The Gunfight at Dodge City.)

The disc is predictably single-layered and has no menus, or extras, and the transfer is interlaced (see combing in bottom capture.) Aside from that it was a decent SD image - although a shade green. It's quite clean, acceptable contrast and fairly consistent on my system. DoP William H. Daniels (Grand Hotel, The Mysterious Lady, Brute Force, The Naked City, Lured) adds some proficient lighting-play camerawork - visible even in the lesser format.

The audio is a factor of the production - but it is quite clean and audible including the score by uncredited Walter Scharf (Casbah, The Glass Key, Hans Christian Andersen, The Geisha Boy, Rock-a-Bye Baby) that augments the film's moods and atmosphere. There are no subtitles and the media is region FREE.

Despite the expose-angle the film has enough Noir-elements to make it on our list - deceptive murder the keynote, and it's beautifully shot with an attractive gal and imposing Raymond Burr. Again though, we show our displeasure at the pricing, Made-on-demand status and lack of any extras. Only completist suckers like this reviewer need indulge.  

Gary Tooze

 


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Combing from interlaced transfer
 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Recently Released Essential Noirs



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