Outrage (1950): Ida Lupino’s Tale of Rape and Its Aftermath, Starring Mala Powers

One of the few women directors during the studio era, Ida Lupino helmed and co-wrote the script of Outrage, along with producers Malvin Wald and her then-husband Collier Young.

As one of the first Hollywood films to deal with rape, Outrage became a controversial feature that raised the stature of Lupino as a director capable of tackling difficult issues.

Mala Powers plays Ann Walton, a young bookkeeper in love with boyfriend, Jim Owens. The young couple informs Ann’s parents of their engagement and plan to marry. Meanwhile, a man who works at the concession stand takes a liking  to Ann and tries to flirt with her.

Late at work one night, Ann is being stalked.  She tries to run away, but is unable to hide. Ann is then caught and raped by her co-worker, a traumatic experience that diminishes her memory except for awareness of a scar on the rapist’s neck.

When Ann’s parents learn of the rape, they contact the police. Her family, friends, and fiancé are all  supportive, but Ann believes that the neighbors gossip about her and that Jim no longer loves her.

Forced to look at a lineup of men with scars, she cannot identify her attacker, and decides to runs away by bus to Los Angeles.

Upon hearing on the radio that her parents are looking for her as a victim of rape, Ann descends the bus and runs away again.  Found by Rev. Bruce Ferguson, he brings Ann to the orange picking farm belonging to his friends. Helping Ann to get a job as a bookkeeper, he falls for her.

At a local festival she agrees, when another attendee sexually harasses her, she attacks him with a wrench in self-defense.

Ferguson, learning of her rape, persuades the judge to commute her sentence, and instead send her to therapy. After a year, Ann wants to stay with Ferguson, but he urges her to face life as it is, and encourages her to return to Jim.