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Richard Coogan ('The Californians') stars as Bill Martin, an ace reporter who's framed for the murder of his editor. He takes it on the lam with his devoted girlfriend Janet (Rosemary Pettit, in one of only five credits for her), and they hide out in a traveling carnival. There, he finds work as a pugilist and she learns how to do some exotic dancing. All the while, they have to prove that criminal big shot Clay Reeves (Harry Bannister, "The Girl of the Golden West") is the one responsible for the killing.
"Girl on the Run" is zippy, engaging Carny-Noir, shot through with plenty of seedy carnival atmosphere, and featuring enough padding to give us a real assortment of the sights and sounds of this place. It comes complete with typically stark photography for the genre (done by Victor Lukens), and an amusing script by Cedric Worth and co-director Arthur J. Beckhard. Some of the dialogue is pretty entertaining, and quick pacing results in a tidy little movie that runs just a little over 65 minutes. There's enough footage of sexy dancing girls to entice viewers, as well as the sight of Coogan in the boxing ring.
The characters are at least reasonably interesting, with Bannister making for an effective heavy. Coogan is a likeable hero, Pettit an appealing heroine, and Edith King ('The Phil Silvers Show') provides solid support as the matronly Lil, but the show is often stolen by the diminutive Charles Bolender ("Dark Intruder") as carny boss Mr. Blake. Star stripper Gigi is played by Renee De Milo, whose dancing is so good it's likely this was really what she did for a living (this was her only acting credit).
However, as most people will tell you, the real curiosity value is in spotting a very young Steve McQueen, as an extra at the carnival. It was the future stars' big screen debut, and he's not too hard to spot (pay close attention to the opening several minutes).
Seven out of 10.
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