For years after seeing "The Night Cry" in John Hampton's Silent Movie Theatre in the 1970s, I could get chills down my spine from remembering one particular scene in this very rare film.
Although "The Night Cry" entry had listed Rin Tin Tin as playing himself (this correction is being written in October, 2008), in truth it is a fictive film and Rinty is merely playing a character with the same name. (This is a problem found frequently here, I understand, but apparently is more often the case with human actors.) The movie is fiction, based on what spoilsport alleged realists say can't really happen, couldn't really happen, and never did happen, but which formed the basis of campfire stories for decades, if not longer.
One other reason I fell absolutely head over heels in love with "The Night Cry" is that I saw it in the company, sort of, of its baby star, Mary Louise Miller, who was no longer a baby but still had the charm of a movie star and was still attractive and interesting.
In truth we were merely in the audience at the same time, but I did get the exciting opportunity of talking with her later and on other occasions.
It was one of the glories of living in Los Angeles in those days, the chance of actually meeting, live and in person, performers and artists who were connected with the arts in which one was immersed -- at least I was.
Mary Louise never did much in the movies after growing up and, even after all these years since I last saw her, I regret and resent that fact. She had the presence and the charm and even as a baby showed the talent to have been at least a minor star.
Rin Tin Tin, of course, was the chief attraction of the movie, but he was certainly ably supported by all the human players -- and by another non-human player whose presence motivated the heart-stopping scene for which I rate this movie a 10. (That scene has almost the emotional impact, to me, of the powerful, stunning scene in "Eleni" where the title character cries out, "My children.")
I have tried, desultorily I admit, for years now to find this movie and to try to learn if Mary Louise Miller had achieved any recognition from anyone but me. Partly because "The Night Cry" is mis-categorized in Rinty's credits and partly because I had got both Mary Louise's and the film's names wrong, I only now discovered this listing.
I have leaped gleefully at this chance to review "The Night Cry," and take this opportunity to urge everyone to see it. If you get any chance at all to watch it, grab that chance and hang on with both hands. Write to and urge Turner Classic Movies to get a copy and show it, even if only at its Sunday midnight silent movie slot. It is a classic of its type.
THIS IS ADDED: Recently I noticed, finally, that one of the film montages Turner Classic Movies uses actually contains a cut from "Night Cry." If you see that tiny cut, you will want to URGE TCM to play the whole movie.
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