Sylvie Tate: Is She Even Real?

As I scrolled through what seemed like an endless list of old movies to pick for this research project, I paid little attention to the name Sylvia Tate. Eventually, I settled on the 1950 film Woman on the Run directed by Norman Foster. The film had an interesting plot synopsis and had received good reviews, so I thought to myself this film should be good to research. Little did I know that the short story “Man on the Run”, which the film was based of off, and its author, Sylvia Tate, were practically nonexistent on every digital archive.

I began my research with the simple Google search “Sylvia Tate”. My heart slightly sank when I realized she didn’t have a Wikipedia page. I became even more worried when I searched for “Man on the Run” and instead results relating to the film Woman on the Run were the only thing that appeared on the first three pages of Google. As other searches involving various combinations of Sylvia Tate and her works also came up with no information relating to her writings, I began to really panic. Dr. Edwards pointed me towards some other digital libraries where I might be able to find information about Sylvia Tate. However, these new archives provided only a brief sense of hope as they were unable to provide any substantial information about Sylvia Tate.

The first digital library, Lantern, produced only a few Production Encyclopedias and film reports in magazines that simply gave credit to Sylvia Tate for her writings as inspiration for various films. These encyclopedias provided no new or personal information on Tate or her stories. I then began searching on Unz, which helped me discover two of Tate’s other works, Never by Chance (1947) and The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1956). I promptly began to research these other two books on Lantern and Google, and learned that The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown had also been adapted into a film. Neither book was overly successful for Tate and researching them did not help uncover any new information about her. Interestingly, both books are available on Amazon, but neither one of them has a single customer review. I returned to Unz and was able to find one review of Tate’s novel Never by Chance included in the August 9th,  1947 edition of The Saturday Review. The review was incredibly positive, leading me to believe that Tate’s other works may have also been received well which is why they were made into films. Finally, I also researched Tate on WorldCat but it also provided few results and only directed me to her other two novels.

Review of “Never by Chance” written by Marten Cumberland in The Saturday Review via Unz.com

At this point, I was exhausted from researching and I had found basically no information on Sylvia Tate or her works. Luckily, I got a breakthrough while plugging in random searches to Google. Google Books led me to page 246 of John Howard Reid’s novel Great Cinema Detectives: Best Movies of Mystery, Suspense & Film Noir. Reid’s book focused on the genre of Film Noir which included the film Woman on the Run. Reid’s index informed me that Tate’s short story “Man on the Run” was originally published in the April 1948 edition of American Magazine. Going forward, I am hoping to find a copy of that edition of American Magazine so that I may read Tate’s short story and hopefully discover some information about Tate herself.

Works Cited

Cumberland, Marten. “The Criminal Record: Hate Will Find a Way.” Review of BookThe Saturday Review, 9 Aug. 1947, p. 31.

Reid, John Howard. Great Cinema Detectives: Best Movies of Mystery, Suspense & Film Noir. Lulu Press, 2006.

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