Barbara Stanwyck plays Sandra Marshall, who turns up at the dark and forbidding Caldwell estate claiming to be the widow and heir of recently deceased Jim Caldwell. Jim's Uncle Mark (Errol Flynn) is quite startled by the news, but invites Sandra to stay as a house guest while he checks out Jim's will.
Another Old Movie Blog, the LABORATORY!)
Accompanied by gloomy music by Franz Waxman, Sandra tries to uncover the family's mysteries, fearlessly riding up and down in dumbwaiters, climbing over rooftops, and racing around on horseback. It's fun to watch her, but the secrets she ultimately uncovers are far from what she expected, and the audience is left wondering just a bit if perhaps Sandra is more foolish than brave.
The movie is effective in gradually shifting viewer perceptions of the characters, but the climactic explanation for the goings-on is perplexing, perhaps more so for a modern audience. It's quite a watchable movie, but despite its strong points, I was left wishing for a more satisfying plot resolution.
Stanwyck is lovely as the fiesty Sandra, who refuses to be cowed by screams, locked doors, and or the equally determined Mark. Flynn is quite good in an ambiguous performance; it would be interesting to rewatch the film with full knowledge of the plot. While initially he comes across as a possible villain, I think he might come off a little more as a heroic Mr. Rochester type on the second go-round.
CRY WOLF was directed by Peter Godfrey, who also directed Stanwyck in CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945). The crisp black and white cinematography was by Carl Guthrie. The movie runs 83 minutes.
The supporting cast includes Patricia Barry (then billed as Patricia White) as a young maid; over a decade later she guest starred in a couple excellent episodes of my favorite TV series, MAVERICK. Richard Basehart, Jerome Cowan, John Ridgely, Helen Thimig, and Rory Mallinson are also in the cast.
CRY WOLF was released on DVD-R by Warner Archive last November.
CRY WOLF has also been released on VHS.