Cast & Crew
As he steps out of Los Angeles' Union Station, ex-convict Rocky Mulloy, fresh from serving five years of a life sentence for robbery and murder, is greeted by Lt. Gus Cobb, the detective responsible for his incarceration. With Gus is Delong, the decorated, disabled Marine who provided Rocky with the alibi that finally freed him. The cynical Gus invites Rocky and Delong for a drink, and at the bar, Delong explains that, because he shipped out the day after the holdup, he was unaware that Rocky, with whom he and some other Marines had been drinking the night before, was in trouble. Despite Delong's statements, Gus remains convinced that Rocky committed the robbery and informs him that he will be following Rocky until he leads him to the holdup money, which was never recovered. Once alone with Rocky, the alcoholic Delong admits that he concocted the alibi, hoping that the grateful ex-convict would share some of his loot with him. Rocky repeats that he did not commit the robbery, but knows who did and intends to find the money. Delong accompanies Rocky to a trailer park, where Nancy Morgan, the wife of his best friend Danny, who was also found guilty of the holdup and is still in prison, lives. Rocky and Delong rent a trailer near Nancy's, and she is thrilled to reunite with Rocky, with whom she was once romantically involved. That night, Rocky goes to see racketeer Louie Castro, who engineered the holdup, and accuses him of a frame-up. The gun-wielding Rocky demands that Castro pay him $50,000, the amount Castro had offered him to participate in the holdup, but Castro refuses. Instead, Castro gives Rocky $500 with which to place a bet on a fixed horserace running the next day. Later, at the trailer park, Rocky is shot at by an unseen assailant, and the still-enamored Nancy begs Rocky to drop the matter. Rocky dismisses Nancy's concerns and goes to see Arthur Fletcher, a witness who provided damning testimony during Rocky's trial. From Fletcher's wife Alice, Rocky learns that the now-dead Fletcher received $5,000 shortly after the trial and assumes that Castro bribed him. Following Castro's directions, Rocky then places his bet with a bookie named Harry and the longshot horse wins. Rocky's instant cash flow soon dries up when Gus reveals that the money is stolen. To prove his innocence, Rocky takes Gus to Harry's place, but the bookie operation has completely disappeared. In Rocky's presence, Gus telephones Castro and asks him if he has seen Rocky recently. When Castro claims that he has not, Gus, who has been following Rocky, knows that he is lying but is still reluctant to believe Rocky's story. Soon after, at the trailer park, Delong and his girl friend Darlene are mistaken for Rocky and Nancy by Castro's thugs and are shot in a hail of bullets. Darlene is killed instantly and the wounded Delong is rushed to the hospital. Gus brings Rocky and the shaken Nancy in for questioning with Castro, but cannot coerce them to admit anything. Later, an incensed Rocky finds Castro in his office and forces him at gunpoint to lie down on the desk. He then plays Russian roulette with Castro until he admits where his half of the loot is hidden. The terrorized Castro also reveals that Nancy has the other half, as Danny, unlike Rocky, agreed to participate in the holdup and committed the murder. After Rocky tricks Castro into calling his men to his office, he notifies the police. As the thugs and the police engage in a shoot-out, Rocky informs Gus where to find Castro's half of the money. At the trailer park, Rocky then confronts Nancy, who admits that she has the money but insists that she kept silent about it only because she was afraid of Castro. Nancy also confesses to shooting at Rocky to stop his snooping. Declaring that she has always loved him, Nancy begs Rocky to run away with her. Rocky agrees, but as soon as he leaves her trailer, he tells Gus about Nancy's deception and walks quietly away.
Joseph F. Biroc
Bernard W. Burton
Lowell J. Farrell
W. R. Frank
Jack E. Miller
Herman E. Webber
The tale of a wronged man seeking revenge, Cry Danger (1951) is a lean, mean film noir, made on a low budget in 22 days. It stars Dick Powell as Rocky Mulloy, who gets sprung from prison after serving five years of a life sentence for a robbery he says he didn't commit. From out of the blue his alibi has been confirmed by a man who says he's one of the Marines Rocky was drinking with when the robbery occurred. Only problem is that Rocky has never seen him before.
This one-legged Marine who goes by the name Delong (Richard Erdman), says he wants to help Rocky out because he figures the guy might know where the stolen money is. Rocky, wanting to return a favor, says he thinks maybe he can get a line on that money after all. The two form an alliance and rent a humble trailer at the same park where Nancy (Rhonda Fleming) lives. She was Rocky's girl once and the sparks are still flying. Nancy is also the wife of Rocky's best friend Danny who is currently serving time in jail.
Rocky wants to stay straight while clearing his name, which is made difficult by the cops trailing him. In the end, Rocky is betrayed by the last person he'd expect to turn on him, but somehow the bitterness is undercut by Joseph Biroc's bright, unblinking cinematic style, one that spends time in the seedier avenues and neighborhoods of post-war Los Angeles. Powell, a favored film noir leading man (Murder, My Sweet, Cornered, both 1945), makes an unusually resilient protagonist, one who brushes off his defeat and walks away with his name cleared and the last illusion swept from his eyes.
Biroc, whose first film as cinematographer was Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946), would follow Cry Danger with the first 3-D movie ever made, Bwana Devil (1952). As for director Robert Parrish, TimeOut film critic Chris Wicking wrote that Parrish's major theme here "is of a man seeking not so much an identity as a place to belong, and here, in his directorial debut, the theme lurks behind a low budget thriller framework...this is a fast, crisp and laconic delight." A child actor in the '30s, Parrish was an Oscar®-winning editor (Body and Soul, 1947) before turning his talents to directing.
While Dick Powell takes top acting honors as Rocky Mulloy, Richard Erdman also stands out as Delong, the war hero with a drinking problem. And William Conrad makes a great low-life villain named Louie Castro, the type of role he excelled in before crossing over to the side of law and order in his popular TV series (star of TV's Canon, 1971-76).
Producer: W.R. Frank, Sam Wiesenthal
Director: Robert Parrish
Screenplay: Jerome Cady (story), William Bowers
Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc
Film Editing: Bernard W. Burton
Art Direction: Richard Day
Music: Paul Dunlap, Hugo Friedhofer, Emil Newman
Cast: Dick Powell (Rocky Mulloy), Rhonda Fleming (Nancy Morgan), Richard Erdman (Delong), William Conrad (Louie Castro), Regis Toomey (Detective Lt. Gus Cobb), Jean Porter (Darlene LaVonne).
BW-80m. Closed captioning.
by Emily Soares
Would you kill me, Rocky?- Castro
Wouldn't you?- Rocky Mulloy
You drinkin' that stuff so early?- Darlene LaVonne
Listen, doll girl, when you drink as much as I do, you gotta start early.- Delong
In an interview with Tom Weaver, 'Porter, Jean' said the film was "directed by 'Powell, Dick' , and he wasn't given director credit. Dick gave Robert Parrish the director's credit, but Dick did all the directing."
According to a May 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item, the rights to Jerome Cady's screen story were first purchased by Santana Pictures, a company owned by actor Humphrey Bogart and producer Robert Lord. Columbia was announced as the film's distributor at that time. Cry Danger marked the first feature-film directing credit for Robert Parrish, a former editor and actor. Olympic Productions, which was owned by Sam Wiesenthal and W. R. Frank, borrowed Rhonda Fleming from David O. Selznick's company for the production. Cry Danger was the only film made under that banner. Much of the picture was shot in and around downtown Los Angeles, CA, including Union Station and Bunker Hill.