Skip to content

Directed by Ida Lupino, Elmer Clifton

United States 1949 91 mins. In English

This atmospheric noir focuses on a bored young waitress (Sally Forrest) who follows a suave musician (Leo Penn) on the road, only to have the cold realities of life thrown in her face.

From a script by Lupino (story by soon-to-be-blacklisted Paul Jarrico)—but also featuring her considerable directing talents after Elmer Clifton fell ill during production—Not Wanted is a lean morality play characterized by noir tropes such as the character with nowhere left to turn and the spurned lover. Sally (Sally Forrest), a bored young waitress, lives in a do-nothing, go-nowhere town, but longs for something bigger and brighter. When suave young musician Steve (Leo Penn) comes through town, Sally falls head-over-heels and follows him on the road, destination unknown—until she winds up pregnant and pursued by Steve’s creepy friend. “A startling blend of compassion and invention. Lupino displays a documentary avidity for the details of work and play. She conveys Sally’s unworldly, impractical passion with tender, intimate close-ups and an intense, effects-driven subjectivity-a hallucinatory sequence in a hospital is a masterpiece of low-budget Expressionism.”—Richard Brody, The New Yorker. New 4k digital restoration!

Genres: Film Noir

Appears in: Three By Ida Lupino



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.