Cast & Crew
Joseph H. Lewis
Photos & Videos
At the Branville State Penitentiary, Warden Keeley conveys to Lt. Tunner, the head of maximum security, the district attorney's dissatisfaction with the way that Tunner is handling the Jory case. Jory, a Cajun convicted of robbery, has steadfastly refused to divulge the names of his partners in crime. Tunner visits Jory in solitary confinement, and when the prisoner attacks him, Tunner fights back and wins Jory's respect. After Jory finally agrees to identify his accomplices, he is escorted to the district attorney's office by Goodwin, the police officer who hungers for Tunner's job. On the drive downtown, their car collides with another vehicle and Jory escapes. Certain that Jory will go home to Louisiana, the warden dispatches Tunner to bring him back. In Louisiana, Tunner is met by Sheriff Brown, who disdains Tunner's humane methods and suggests that a shotgun would prove more efficacious. Informed that Jory has hopped a freight train headed toward Louisiana, the sheriff and Tunner stop the train to search it. Jory jumps from the boxcar, dives into the river and swims to freedom. The sheriff fires at the fugitive, infuriating Tunner. Hunted by dogs, Jory plunges into the bayou and heads for home. Upon reaching his shack, Jory finds Tunner waiting for him. After making a deal with Jory to return peacefully, the compassionate Tunner reuintes Jory with his wife Ella and then steps out of the shack so that they can share a moment in private. When Jory refuses to flee, Ella taunts him about being a coward and then calls to Albert, the son he has never seen. Upon meeting the boy, Jory vows never to return to prison, and Ella knocks Tunner unconscious. Overwhelmed with thirst upon awakening, Tunner drinks some swamp water and becomes delirious with swamp fever. After being tortured by hallucinations of chasing Jory, Tunner finally regains consciousness to find his wife Janet and Goodwin at his bedside. Although Goodwin informs Tunner that he is taking over the case, Tunner refuses to relinquish control. The next day, Janet flies home, and Goodwin and Tunner propel a boat into the bayous in search of Jory. As night falls, the two set up camp in a graveyard. Spooked by a series of haunting cries, the two trace the sounds to a crazed old woman, who claims that Jory stole some food from her. The next day, Goodwin bullies one of the swamp dwellers into revealing the direction in which Jory was headed. Alerted to the approaching intruders by gunshots, Jory is goaded by Ella into taking up firearms. Tunner, meanwhile, decides to split up with Goodwin and search the swamp on foot. Declaring that he is giving up the hunt, Goodwin then returns to town. While trudging through the dank swamplands, Tunner finds an abandoned canoe and commandeers it. Slipping unseen into the water, Jory overturns the canoe. On shore, the two men battle, and Tunner hurls Jory into a protruding broken tree limb, wounding him. Jory then flings Tunner into a pit of quicksand. As Tunner sinks into the pit, Jory's conscience wins out, and he rescues Tunner from certain death. That night, Jory confesses that Joe Lorgan, the man who planned the robbery, offered him $5,000 for his silence. When Jory becomes delirious from his infected wound, Tunner loads him into the canoe and paddles into the swamp, their water supply depleted. As night falls, Tunner rows to shore. Raving, Jory mistakes him for Lorgan and says he does not want his dirty money, but Tunner loads him back into the canoe and begins to paddle again. As alligators trail in their wake, the boat overturns, and Tunner snatches Jory from the creatures' jaws and lugs him to shore. Later, Tunner hears the sound of a boat motor and Goodwin's voice calling to him. Parched, Tunner struggles to respond. Unable to speak, Tunner ignites the brush with his cigarette lighter. Spotting the smoke, Goodwin comes to the rescue and pulls Jory and Tunner to safety. One year later, Jory has completed his prison sentence and is released, a free man. As he purchases a train ticket to Louisiana, Tunner warmly wishes him luck.
Joseph H. Lewis
A. Arnold Gillespie
William Grady Jr.
Rudolph G. Kopp
Conard A. Nervig
Edwin B. Willis
Cry of the Hunted
Cry of the Hunted (1953) was one of three films that director Joseph H. Lewis made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the fifties (the other two were A Lady Without Passport  and Desperate Search ) and, while it is not as gripping or as visually dazzling as Lewis' film noir landmarks Gun Crazy  and The Big Combo , this B-movie programmer is atmospheric and tautly directed. While Cry of the Hunted resists easy categorization in terms of genre, it works best as a character study of two intense and determined personalities who refuse to compromise their own personal codes of honor in dealing with each other.
At the time of filming, Vittorio Gassman was still married to Shelley Winters and under contract to MGM, who tried unsuccessfully to groom him as an international matinee idol in lavish Technicolor productions such as Sombrero  and Rhapsody . While Cry of the Hunted places Gassman in a more realistic and unglamorized milieu, it also demonstrates the limitations of this versatile and acclaimed Italian actor in an English language film. Barry Sullivan fares much better as the pursuing law enforcer and William Conrad and Polly Bergen provide lively and occasionally amusing contrasts to the often grim proceedings; Conrad is typically sarcastic as Tunner's underpaid partner who wants his job and Bergen is impossibly upbeat and perky as Tunner's perfect wife - not only does she have a martini waiting for him after a hard day at the office but she even packs an elaborate picnic basket for him (complete with individually wrapped and labeled sandwiches) to take on his swamp pursuit of Jory.
In an interview with Peter Bogdanovich for the book Who the Devil Made It, Lewis recalled the making of Cry of the Hunted and his other MGM films, noting "...if you asked for a little clothes closet, they'd give you an eight-room house. It's true. You know, for a guy who loves sets and settings, that would be great. The art department wanted to give you everything...I found when I had a sequence to shoot with fog in it, they wanted to give me two huge stages and build a whole swamp set, put a boat in there and everything. I knew what that meant: you'd fog up the scene and after you made a shot, you'd have to wait for a half hour or forty-five minutes until the huge fans blew out all the old smoke. Right? Well, that was the Metro way. I wasn't about to do that I wanted to do it on the outside, which we did eventually."
Lewis did, however, shoot a highly stylized and bizarre dream sequence on an interior set for Cry of the Hunted in which Barry Sullivan's character has a nightmare where he's taunted by a devilish Vittorio Gassman. It is as feverish and hallucinatory as some of the more flamboyant moments in Lewis' most evocative film noirs. The film is also one of several Lewis movies in which a swamp figures prominently in the storyline.
Cry of the Hunted received little attention or praise when it was first released and was seen as little more than a routine programmer. While it might not be among Lewis' best work, it's a compelling minor drama in its own way and Lewis had fond memories of the cast: "I went out and got Bill Conrad, who I think is a fascinating actor. He certainly proved himself to be a very fine director, a fine producer, fine everything. He has great talent magnificent actor. And it was wonderful working with Vittorio Gassman."
Producer: William Grady, Jr.
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Screenplay: Jack Leonard (screenplay and story); Marion Wolfe (story)
Cinematography: Harold Lipstein
Art Direction: Malcolm Brown, Cedric Gibbons
Film Editing: Conrad A. Nervig
Cast: Vittorio Gassman (Jory), Barry Sullivan (Lt. Tunner), Polly Bergen (Janet Tunner), William Conrad (Goodwin), Mary Zavian (Ella), Robert Burton (Warden Keeley), Harry Shannon (Sheriff Brown), Jonathan Cott (Deputy Davis).
by Jeff Stafford
Who the Devil Made It: Conversations With Legendary Film Directors by Peter Bogdanovich (Ballantine)
"Joseph H. Lewis" by Robert Keser, Senses of Cinema web site (http://archive.sensesofcinema.com)
Cry of the Hunted
The working title of this film was Men Don't Cry. According to a pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter, John Indrisano was hired to stage the waterfront brawls and portray the stevedore foreman, but this setting and character did not appear in the released film. A September 30, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Peter Oritz to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although "Jory" is shown escaping on the Angels Flight funicular in Los Angeles, the context of the story makes it clear that the prison is not located in California. Portions of the film were shot on location in the Louisiana bayous.
Released in United States Spring May 8, 1953
Released in United States Spring May 8, 1953