A Cry in the Night is a film noir from 1956 directed by Frank Tuttle. The three stars are:
Edmond O’Brien playing a detective and father
Natalie Wood playing O’Brien’s daughter
though the poster says the third star is Brian Donlevy, playing the detective in charge of the case, the real third star of this film is Raymond Burr playing a psychopath.
This story starts out with Wood and her boyfriend, played by Richard Anderson, up at “Lover’s Loop” parked in his car. They are discussing their future together when the boyfriend notices a man in the trees watching them. He goes to investigate and a scuffle ensues. Burr hits the boyfriend with his lunch box. The boyfriend goes down and Wood comes over to see how he is doing. She thinks he is dead and Burr carries her away and steals the car. When the police find the boyfriend, they think he is drunk and throw him in the tank. A doctor at the police headquarters discovers him and brings him into Donlevy’s office to tell his story. When Donlevy finds out Wood is the girl kidnapped, he goes to O’Brien’s house to inform him of the situation. This scene is interesting as O’Brien plays a fun-loving husband and father, drinking a beer and talking to his wife. When he is informed of his daughter’s kidnapping, he instantly turns into a hard-boiled detective.
The story takes place over the course of one night with a pretty straight forward plot. Burr is a pretty interesting character here as a mentally disturbed man who lives with his overbearing mother. Natalie Wood also stands out playing a teenager in trouble, but in the 1950’s she may have been the best at that.
This is a very good film noir worth checking out. It is a hidden gem and if you are a film noir fan you will find it very entertaining.
Favorite Tidbit: This film was from Jaguar Productions, a small movie production company that only lasted a few years. It was established by Alan Ladd. You can hear his voice in the beginning of the film in an uncredited voice over.