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The father of a wilderness family gets bitten by a skunk, and fearing rabies, chains himself to a barn to protect his family should he go mad. He orders his son not to come near him no matter how persuasive or rational his appearance or argument. However, the creek dries up, indicating an upstream blockage and an imminent flood. Several trips upstream by the son have failed to locate the blockage and now Dad wants to be released... Written by
On his isolated farm in the wilderness, Sam Hadley (played by George Kennedy) has an unfortunate run-in with a rabid skunk. How Sam and his wife handle the situation is the basis for the story, which is totally not convincing. Sam reacts in ways that defy logic or common sense. Plot devices include hallucinations, a coincidental flood, and menacing hillbillies.
The acting is not bad, but the actors have nothing to work with. The story's premise, in my opinion, is not credible. It relies too much on coincidental timing, improbable behavior, hokey characters, and a predictable outcome. Indeed, without the skunk, there would be no story at all.
The DVD version of this film is 74 minutes, but it seemed more like two hours. I don't wish to be unkind, but the film seemed to me to be a cross between a bad episode of "Green Acres" and a poor remake of the movie "Deliverance". A more interesting film might have resulted if the story had been told from the POV of the skunk. How did the skunk react to the encounter? Was the skunk traumatized? Did the skunk suffer nightmares? What did the skunk learn, and so on.
I'm not clear why "A Cry In The Wilderness" was even made. I suppose when the film aired in 1974, it "might" have had some value as an after school special for kids. But thirty years later, it's barely a cinematic footnote.
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