Cry Danger (1951) Russian Roulette, A Sexy Pickpocket & A Drunk Wooden Legged Man In A Trailer Park

Cry Danger (1951) Dick Powell Rhonda Fleming film noir drama

Another adventure into the wonderful world of Film Noir brings me to an actor I hadn’t seen before, Dick Powell. Even though I know he’s in the much praised Murder, My Sweet, I’m still to see that. So with that one and another called Pitfall lined up to thrill and excite me soon, my first encounter with Mr Powell is this one, Cry Danger, and it’s a real doozy.

Tagline – Powell’s on the Prowl!

Cry Danger (1951) Dick Powell film noir walking downtown LA train station

Rocky Mulloy (Dick Powell) strolls back into Downtown Los Angeles after serving 5 years of a life sentence for armed robbery. He’s been lucky, an old war time buddy Delong (Richard Erdman) has come forward with new evidence proving Rocky’s alibi was right. The judge having no option but to release him, however he will be tailed by Police Lt. Gus Cobb (Regis Toomey). There’s the matter of what has become of the missing money from the robbery, a cool 100 thousand dollars and besides, Cobb doesn’t buy that alibi.

Cry Danger (1951) Delong (Richard Erdman) hard drinking one legged war vet

Rocky is a cool, charismatic and a quick witted wordsmith. He’s a tough as nails no nonsense hard man and is as happy to dish out the pain to get his answers. On taking the wrap for the robbery along with his friend Danny Morgan, whos still banged up, Rocky wants what’s owed to him. Rocky needs to put the squeeze on the mastermind behind the hit, Louie Castro (William Conrad). He wants a big payout from Castro, demanding 50 grand, Castro might look a pushover but he not so stupid.

Cry Danger (1951) Louie Castro (William Conrad) gangster bookie

Rocky Mulloy – “And do me a favor Castro, while I’m on the phone, try and jump me. I’d like nothing better than to give it to you in the belly.

Cry Danger (1951) Dick Powell rocky Police Lt. Gus Cobb (Regis Toomey)

Detective Lt. Gus Cobb and his men keep a 24 hour surveillance on Rocky as he calmly wanders around town. Checking himself into a trailer park with Delong, a man constantly on the old sauce. Delong has an eternal thirst with a keen eye for the ladies and like Rocky, he’s can’t stop the banter.

Delong – “Listen, doll girl, when you drink as much as I do, you gotta start early.”

Cry Danger (1951) sticky fingered Darlene (Jean Porter)Cry Danger (1951) Nancy (Rhonda Fleming)

So with a clapped out old trailer for their base and two dames in tow, one a cheeky quick fingered, party girl called Darlene (Jean Porter) and the other, Rocky’s jail mate Danny’s wife Nancy (Rhonda Fleming). Can Rocky keep one foot in front of Castro and out of the spotlight of the police? Will he be able to find the missing money or at least make a stash from Castro. Can he keep his hands off his mates gal, keep Delong off the booze and get a good night sleep in the bug infested, broken down trailer park trash?

I tell you what, this film debut by director Robert Parrish is superb in so many ways. The pace is fast, the characters have depth even in the short runtime. The story is intelligent with sharp, clever dialogue peppered throughout. Amazing camera angles, especially the opening train station arrival of Rocky. Dick Powell’s performance commands your attention and you’re with him right from the very start to the dying end.  I was very impressed with Cry Danger and could see it being worthy of a modern remake in say maybe a Coen brothers style. Think it was the dialogue and narrative that kept it fresh along with Powell’s likeable but strong charm.

Cry Danger (1951) gangster hit men shoot out gun smoke

One shocking scene!

Within the film of many twists and turns, there are fair few violent moments just like multiple movies in the noir camp but one really stood out. In unforgiving, no mercy fashion Rocky interrogates with blunt force the use of the one bullet in a chamber, Russian Roulette Deer Hunter style. It is a brutal and thrilling scene. I wonder if it is the first time Russian Roulette had been used in a movie?

Cry Danger (1951) Rocky Mulloy (Dick Powell) getting toughI’ve been on a noir drama mission frenzy the last few weeks, like a junky, I need my fix. Been working my way through loads and incredibly every new one I see just leads directly on to the next. There’s millions of them and what a lucky fella I am to have them all to watch. I know I’m late to the Dick Powell party so please feel free to recommend other goodies in his filmography, to push me in the right direction. And if you fancy it, let me know what you thought of this one.

Keep your eyes peeled on the 4:3 aspect ratio screens, have fun and explore. Fist bump, Mikey Wolf

12 thoughts on “Cry Danger (1951) Russian Roulette, A Sexy Pickpocket & A Drunk Wooden Legged Man In A Trailer Park

  1. Not seen Dick Powell? May I make a suggestion… a movie about Hollywood behind the scenes, with some noirish undertones, called “The Bad and the Beautiful”. Besides Powell, it stars Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Barry Sullivan, Walter Pidgeon, and Gloria Grahame in her Oscar-winning performance. I’m sure you’ll love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know it’s a shocker isn’t it but what joy I’m having discovering all these amazing flicks. “The Bad and the Beautiful” sounds like an excellent recommend Gary and what a cast. Thank you I’m on the case. Gloria Grahame has been a delight to watch in Crossfire and The Big Heat and in more naughty mode in Human Desire. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of her too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a cracking flick. This is one of the few Dick Powell films that I’ve never seen. Besides Murder My Sweet, I would also recommend Cornered, Johnny O’Clock, The Tall Target and Station West. He’s a great actor and got to prove his dramatic acting ability when he appeared in Noir films.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome thanks for all the recommends. Tall Target sounds especially interesting and I know I’m going to love Cornered. Very much appreciated. I need to pull my finger out and get on the Murder My Sweet. I do hope you get to see Cry Danger soon I know you will love it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never paid much attention to Powell when I first got into film history. Probably cause I figured he was just a dancer in 30’s musicals. Big mistake. He did well in the Noir field. Miss Rhonda…… Had a crush on her the moment I saw her in technicolor opposite Bing in Connecticut Yankee. I was all but 12 years old…… 🙂


  4. Great post 🙂 I have not seen this film in a long time. Nevertheless, I heard that it’s director Robert Parrish served as film editor on Robert Rossen’s 1947 boxing noir Body and Soul. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this review. Well done. I haven’t seen this one; noir is one of my favorite genres and this sounds like it’s right up my alley. Murder My Sweet is excellent, you’ve got to see that one. Gold Diggers of 1933 is no noir–it’s a musical (probably my least favorite genre) and it is excellent. Ginger Rodgers does this number, “We’re in the Money” where she sings half the song in pig latin. Oh my gosh! It’s wonderful. The whole movie is great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the nice comment, I’m 100 percent sure you will enjoy Cry Danger as much as me. Dick Powell is just superb…. Musicals you say, yep I’m the same but don’t tell anyone, my mum brought me up on Calamity Jane and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Yep you guessed it, she loved Howard Keel and I know all the words to those films, shhhh. hehe
      I’d never heard of Gold Diggers Of 1933 and just watched the scene you talk about on YT. Wow how incredible is that! The choreography is just beautiful and how on earth does she get that pig latin spot on? It sounds so bizarre and wonderful at the same time. I will certainly be looking out to see that film. Mesmerising.

      Liked by 1 person

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