Cast & Crew
In Los Angeles, Midwesterner Paula Considine goes to the Missing Persons Bureau in search of her sister Mary, from whom she has not heard in weeks. Also at the Bureau is reporter Mark Sitko, who overhears Paula's query and notices that a disreputable private detective named Kerric is following her. In Paula's presence, Mark jumps Kerric, who admits that Paula's father hired him to follow first Mary, then Paula. With Kerric in tow, Mark takes Paula to the morgue and there, Paula tearfully identifies her sister from a "Jane Doe" photo. When Paula learns that Mary died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a stolen car, an apparent suicide victim, she tells Mark that Mary had recently given birth and would not have killed herself. Paula also states that she has found no trace of Mary's baby, not even a birth record at the hospital from which Mary had written her. Intrigued and sympathetic, Mark has Paula's story checked through his newspaper and learns that Mary never married and never acquired a driver's license. Kerric, meanwhile, reports his encounter with Mark to his boss, Mrs. Donner, the head of an illegal baby brokerage, who had Mary killed after she tried to get her baby back from its adoptive parents. Although Mrs. Donner is not concerned about Mark and Paula, Kerric, who blackmailed Mary into going to Mrs. Donner, worries that their operation will be exposed. Now fearing that Mary was murdered, Mark takes Paula to see police chief McRae, but McRae tells Mark that he needs more evidence to start an investigation. To obtain more evidence, Mark and Paula go to the hospital at which Mary stayed, but none of the nurses recognizes Mary from her photograph. Undaunted, Mark then questions a well-connected bartender named Eddie about baby brokers, and Eddie starts him on a trail of contacts, which finally leads him to a masseur named Doc Tilson. Tilson is making arrangements with Mark to buy a baby when his boss, gangster "Little Guy" DeCola, phones with orders to stop. Unknown to Mark and Paula, Kerric has continued to follow them and has informed Mrs. Donner, who is also DeCola's boss, of their activities. Discouraged but still determined, Mark and Paula then attempt to retrace Mary's last steps and discover that she spent some time at a Salvation Army home for unwed mothers. There, Major Ross introduces Mark and Paula to the pregnant Dottie Jenson, who had befriended Mary, and Dottie reveals that just before she left, Mary was visited by a middle-aged woman and a man, who verbally threatened her. Now sure that Mary was the victim of baby brokers, Mark convinces McRae to set up a sting operation, and Dottie volunteers to be the bait. Sometime later, while police listening devices record their conversation, Mrs. Donner approaches Dottie outside the home and offers to help her financially in exchange for her baby. Followed by the police, Dottie drives to Mrs. Donner's spacious house and moves in. Mark and Paula then establish themselves as prospective adoptive parents and meet with the unsuspecting Mrs. Donner, who takes a deposit from them. As Mark and Paula are leaving, however, Kerric sees them and informs Mrs. Donner of their identity. Mark and Paula, meanwhile, report to McRae that Mrs. Donner registers the babies under the adoptive parents' name, and McRae deduces that one of the nurses at Mary's hospital is involved in the scam. While McRae investigates the hospital, a desperate Kerric kidnaps Mary's baby from its adoptive parents and calls Paula, offering it in exchange for $1,500. Paula agrees to Kerric's plan and is united with the baby at a boardinghouse, at which Kerric orders her to stay until further notice. At his apartment, Kerric is ambushed by DeCola and his henchman, Hoppe, who take him to Mrs. Donner's and, after torturing him into revealing Paula's whereabouts, beat him to death. At that moment, Dottie, who has overheard Mrs. Donner's plan to kill Paula and the baby, goes into labor, and Mrs. Donner is forced to rush her to the hospital. After Mark learns from McRae that Mrs. Spence, the woman who adopted Mary's baby, has confessed all, he finds a note from Paula revealing her plan to obtain Mary's baby. Concerned about Paula, Dottie tries to call authorities from her hospital room but is stopped by Nurse Sully, Mrs. Donner's secret employee. Mrs. Donner and DeCola, meanwhile, kidnap Paula and the baby from the boardinghouse and drive them to a remote garage. At Mrs. Donner's, Mark and McRae find Kerric's body and, discovering Dottie gone, rush to the hospital, where Dottie tells them about the garage. Mark and police arrive at the garage just as Mrs. Donner, DeCola and Hoppe are leaving, and a shootout and crash ensue. After shooting DeCola and Hoppe, Mark and McRae rescue an unconscious Paula and the baby from the gas-filled car. Later, a fully recovered Paula thanks Dottie for her help and makes plans to adopt her sister's baby with her new husband, Mark.
Leslie I. Carey
Russell A. Gausman
David S. Horsley
Ruby R. Levitt
Joan St. Oegger
This film was also released under the title Abandoned Woman. According to a October 25, 1949 Daily Variety news item, the title was changed from Abandoned to Abandoned Woman just prior to its release in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times reviewed the picture as Abandoned Woman. Although the news item speculated that the change might be "permanent," all other sources, including onscreen credits, list the title as Abandoned. The film opens and closes with a brief voice-over narration. The Daily Variety review notes that Irving Gielgud's script was "based on the LA Mirror's recent baby adoption racket expose." According to Hollywood Reporter, two years previous to the film's production, police lieutenant Harry Dean, who worked as a technical advisor on the picture, was a key investigator on the Los Angeles "baby adoption ring" case. As noted by reviews, scenes in the film were shot on location in and around Los Angeles.
Released in United States Fall October 28, 1949
Released in United States Fall October 28, 1949