• Cry Danger

    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: April 8th, 2014.
    Director: Robert Parrish
    Cast: Dick Powell, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Erdman, William Conrad, Regis Toomey
    Year: 1951
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    The Movie:

    The directorial debut of Robert Parrish, the man who would go on to helm Casino Royale and A Town Called Hell among others, 1951’s Cry Danger may not reinvent the wheel but it proves to be a remarkably efficient and well-paced thriller that fans of the genre should really enjoy.

    The story follows a man named Rocky Mulloy (Dick Powell) who has recently been released from prison where he did a five year stint behind bars for an armed robbery attempt. Now once again a free man thanks to some witness testimony courtesy of a former Marine named Delong (Richard Erdman). Rocky makes headlines when he heads back to Los Angeles. Here he hopes to dig up enough evidence to free his pal Danny Morgan who remains behind bars for his supposed part in the crime. And so Rocky sets about prowling the mean streets of the City Of Angels to see what he can come up with.

    Rocky, however, has his work cut out for him. While he knows Danny is innocent, the witness whose testimony got Rocky out doesn’t think Danny should be freed. On top of that, the incarcerated man’s gorgeous wife Nancy (Rhonda Fleming), now living in a crummy trailer park, seems hesitant to help Rocky free her husband, though she certainly seems intrigued by Rocky. Adding a further layer of complication to all of this is the not insignificant matter of the missing loot, a cool hundred grand that a cop named Gus Cobb (Regis Toomey), not to mention Delong, would just love to get his mitts on. Rocky, however, remains undeterred and soon discovers that a gangster named Louie Castro (William Conrad) might know a whole lot about how and why he was put away for this crime in the first place.

    Clocking in at just under eighty-minutes, Cry Danger is rock solid entertainment through and through. It differentiates itself from more traditional Film Noir by taking place almost entirely in the daylight, so we don’t get a lot of that shadowy cinematography you might expect, but the flip side of that coin is that it allows for the slick cinematography to really show off a lot of great period Los Angeles location work. This adds an appreciable layer of realism to the look of the film that helps it immensely and makes for a perfectly atmospheric backdrop for our cast to play off of. There are a few scenes, mostly those that take place in Nancy’s trailer, that you can bet were shot on a set somewhere but other than those, most of this looks very authentic.

    Performance wise, Dick Powell proves he’s got what it takes to convincingly play the tough guy. He might have got his start in musicals of the 1930s but by this point he’d made the shift very effectively. He’s got a smart, tough demeanor to him that makes him likeable and watchable and as such, he’s quite well cast. Rhonda Fleming is decent here as well. Her character is obviously conflicted about what to do in regards to her situation and her work, which you could say is a little wooden, seems, in hindsight, to accurately reflect that hesitation she would understandably feel. She’s also quite beautiful here and while her Nancy isn’t the archetypical femme fatale you might expect, she’s interesting to watch. Really strong supporting work from Erdman and Toomey is enjoyable and William Conrad tends to steal most of the scenes he’s involved with, handling the sequences in which he goes back and forth with Powell quite well.


    Cry Danger debuts on Blu-ray from Olive Films in a 1.33.1 fullframe transfer presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Detail here is pretty solid and while some minor print damage is present in the form of some small scratches and specks throughout the film, the source used for the transfer was evidently in fairly good condition. Grain is present throughout the presentation but it never gets so heavy as to distract from the generally solid detail and texture that the HD transfer offers. Black levels are really nice, quite strong, and contrast looks spot on. All in all this is a sharp and crisp image offering surprisingly good texture and contrast along with strong shadow detail. The movie looks quite good in HD, there's nothing to object to here at all. Fans should be quite pleased with the visuals on this release.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono Audio track on the disc is pretty good. The score sounds quite strong here and helps to really ramp up the tension in the last twenty minutes or so. The hardboiled Dialogue stays crisp and clear, it's never a problem understanding any of the characters. Levels are well balanced and there's as much depth as you could reasonably expect from an older low budget picture. As it is with a lot of older movies, the limitations of the source material do come through, as they should, but this is a clean track that suits the movie just fine and which doesn't suffer from any serious problems. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind offered on this disc.

    Outside of a static menu and chapter selection, there are no extra features on this disc.

    The Final Word:

    Cry Danger benefits from strong performances by its two main leads and an interesting supporting cast but also from a quick pace and some solid directing. The L.A. locations are used very effectively and the movie is tense, exciting and at times quite clever with its twists. This one is ripe for rediscovery and if the Blu-ray from Olive Films is devoid of any extras, it does look and sound very nice.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      I've always liked this one - modest but very entertaining and Powell is always fun and believable in these roles, and as you say, the supporting players are good too. Richard Erdman stuck around a surprisingly long time, he was in Crown's TOMBOY in 1985! The trailer Powell and Erdman share is one sleazy looking dump, I'd be expecting to get nibbled by some critter if I spent the night! Watched this last night, was very pleased with Olive's BD. So glad they got back to some noirs. Nice review, Ian.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Thanks Andrew! This one holds up really well in my opinion. Just really solid entertainment.
    1. Mark C.'s Avatar
      Mark C. -
      I watched this yesterday, really liked it, Surprised to see Regis Toomey in it after seeing him in two other films I randomly watched this week.