A Cry in the Night (1956)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  17 August 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 463 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 8 critic

A deranged man kidnaps the nubile daughter of a police captain.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Capt. Dan Taggart
Irene Hervey ...
Carol Veazie ...
Mrs. Mabel Loftus
Mary Lawrence ...
Tina Carver ...
Mrs. Marie Holzapple
Herb Vigran ...


Owen Marks, parked at Lovers' Loop with girlfriend Liz Taggart, surprises a peeping Tom, who knocks him out and kidnaps Liz. The police leap into action when they learn the victim is a cop's daughter. Kidnapper Harold Loftus, the unhinged product of a smothering mother, makes ineffectual advances toward Liz, who staves him off as the police close in, hindered as much as helped by her overprotective father Capt. Dan Taggart. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE TEEN-AGE DATE IN LOVERS' LANE THEY'LL NEVER LET HER FORGET! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


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Release Date:

17 August 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Um Grito na Escuridão  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Edmond O'Brien is getting ready to watch a movie on TV, he pours himself a glass of beer which is almost entirely foam. When he stands up to turn off the TV, the glass is suddenly full of beer. See more »


Capt. Ed Bates: How do ya tell a guy that his kid has been grabbed?
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User Reviews

Intriguing themes, solid performances by noir stalwarts Burr, Donleavy and O'Brien, save 50s police procedural
21 February 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

When Raymond Burr's face (grotesquely lighted by John F. Seitz) looms out of the shrubbery at Lovers' Loop, he adds A Cry in the Night to his long string of films in which he cemented his reputation as the noir cycle's most indispensable and unforgettable creep. He's prowling the petting grounds looking for a girl, and doesn't care how he gets her. Assaulting the male half (Richard Anderson) of a necking couple, he kidnaps the other (Natalie Wood), spiriting her off to a den he's fixed up in an abandoned brickyard. This time, though, there's a catch to Burr's villainy: He's a dim-witted hulk, a childish monster akin to Lennie in Of Mice And Men.

The police mistake the dazed Anderson for a drunk and lock him up. Only when a doctor suspects concussion does his story emerge, leading captain Brian Donleavy to mobilize a dragnet for Wood and her abductor. As it happens, Wood's father (Edmond O'Brien) is one of their own, a hot-headed, rigid cop out for blood - he throws a punch at the already reeling Anderson. Meanwhile Burr plies Wood with apricot pie and sequined gowns, as she desperately tries to flee. A break in the case comes when Burr's mother calls in to report her 32-year-old son missing....

Along with Burr, A Cry in the Night unites stalwarts of the cycle Donleavy and O'Brien; even the familiar voice in the opening narration belongs to Alan Ladd, who appeared in this director Frank Tuttle's This Gun For Hire 14 years earlier. The movie stays a pretty standard police procedural, albeit with a few intriguing touches. It offers as subtexts some period glimpses into dysfunctional parenting. His spinster sister, another victim of his vigilance against beaux come a-couring, accuses the overprotective O'Brien of driving Wood to Lovers' Loop and hence to peril.

Even less wholesome is Carol Veazie as Burr's doting, sweet-toothed mother. Managing simultaneously to suggest Dame Judith Anderson, Jean Stapleton and Doris Roberts, she shuffles around drinking coffee in her horse-blanket bathrobe, whining about that missing slice of apricot pie. Nineteen-fifty-six, some may recall, was the high-water mark of a national panic about `Momism,' a threat deemed scarcely less perilous to the republic than the international Communist conspiracy; Veazie endures as one of its most formidable operatives (her successors would include the unseen Mrs. Bates in Psycho, Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, and Marjorie Bennet's Dehlia Flagg in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?).

Early in the movie, before the tight walls of his world come tumbling down, O'Brien pours himself a beer and waits for the nightly movie on TV. When it starts, he sighs, `Another one of those cop pictures,' and switches it off. There he was, in the Indian Summer of the noir cycle, and couldn't care less. Couldn't he have forseen that, almost 50 years later, there would be an avid audience for those cop pictures - even the ones starring him?

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