Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Escape in the Fog (1945)
Directed by Oscar Boetticher, Jr.
Produced by Wallace MacDonald
Written by Aubrey Wisberg
Cinematography by George Meehan
Edited by Jerome Thoms
Kit Parker Films/Mill Creek Blu-ray (1:05)
Take a look at that running time. We’ve only got 65 minutes, so things have to move pretty fast. Remember: 65 minutes.
Welcome to Eileen* Carr’s (Nina Foch) nightmare. She’s walking along San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy evening, when out of nowhere, a cab screeches to a halt and three men tumble out, two of them attempting to murder the other. Screaming herself awake, Eileen discovers she’s at the Rustic Dell Inn just outside of San Francisco, where she meets Barry Malcolm (William Wright), the man she saw attacked in her nightmare.
Eileen tells Barry that she served on a hospital ship that was bombed during the war. Fair enough: Barry works in psychological warfare. Hmmm.... Eileen and Barry hit it off so well and so quickly (Remember: 65 minutes) that Barry asks Eileen to join him in San Francisco, where he has a work assignment. Eileen is clearly interested, but so is George Smith (Ernie Adams**), who picks up a phone in the lobby of the inn, informing someone of Barry’s change in itinerary.
What follows involves espionage, double agents, a watch and clock repair shop, a hidden recording device, a ship that doesn’t exist, a creative escape, a clever method of hacking a number from a rotary telephone, and to top it all off, a young (and uncredited) Shelley Winters as a taxi driver.
The film also attempts to dabble into psychological territory perhaps more than it should, but after all, this was the era for that. (We’ll see more of this, much more, in the world of film noir.) Otherwise, things happen fast (once again: 65 minutes) and implausibility certainly comes into play more than once, but a better-than-average cast (including Otto Kruger, Konstantin Shayne, and Ivan Triesault) makes this B-movie a nifty treat.
Escape in the Fog is an early Budd Boetticher (listed here as Oscar Boetticher, Jr.) film, certainly not as good as his later films, but you can see the talent beginning to develop. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the film comes from the performance of Nina Foch, who thinks she’s in an A-picture.
Escape in the Fog is part of the Noir Archive Volume 1: 1944-1954 from Kit Parker Films/Mill Creek Blu-ray.
Photos: DVD Beaver, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
*Some sites have the character's name spelled Eilene.
**the long-faced man wanting his money from George Bailey’s building and loan in It’s a Wonderful Life, among other films.