Cry Danger!

Written by Joe D on April 5th, 2010

I went to see Cry Danger at the Film Noir fest Friday night. It’s a fun film notably for it’s incredible locations, great character actors, and snappy dialog. I had seen this film years ago on VHS rented from the now defunct Jerry’s Video. But it was transferred from a really bad dupey 16mm print and looked like crap. This version at the Cinematech was a real beaut, recently restored by the joint efforts of the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA.

The film starts off with a guy getting off a train at Union Station, he goes to a dive bar, then a trailer park on Bunker Hill with amazing views of L.A. City Hall! The best noir location of all time! A downtown crummy trailer park! You have to see it to believe it. Great characer actor Richard Erdman was at the screening as well as leading lady Rhonda Fleming ( she looked great!)


Richard Erdman


Help Me Rhonda!

They regaled the audience with tales of making this film, Erdman talked about Jay Adler who portrayed the sleazy owner of the trailer park, He said he was the nastiest, evil person he ever worked with, he said Adler was such a miscreant as a youth that his family sent him away to a military school which Adler promptly burned to the ground!


Dick Powell Shoves his 45 in Jay Adler’s face

The wife of screenwriter William Bowers was in attendance as well. Bowers was an excellent Noir writer, his dialog still brings laughs, intentional ones I might add. Eddie Muller revealed that Bowers wrote the excellent Pitfall , which contains some of the best noir dialog outside of Out Of The Past. For some reason Bowers didn’t get credit on Pitfall which is a real shame. Rhonda Fleming told a revealing story that later shed some light on the ending of the film. SPOILER ALERT! She said that during the shooting of the final scene she was stricken with appendicitis and had to leave before they finished shooting. The end of the film was odd, Dick Powell tells Fleming he loves her, she wants to run away with him. She tells him to pack his bags and they’ll go off together. He exits the trailer and tells the asshole cop outside to go in and arrest her. Now is this any way for a hero to act.? Remember the great scene at the end of The Maltese Falcon, when Bogie tells Mary Astor he loves her but he’s turning her over to the cops anyway. That was a great scene! I think Rhonda was in the hospital and they made up the scene where Dick Powell tells Regis Toomey to arrest her , so they could shoot an ending without Fleming , at least I hope so because the ending as is makes Dick Powell a scumbag of the highest order. UPDATE! I wrote to Rhonda Fleming and asked her about the end of the film, she was kind enough to write back and tell me that the end was filmed as written, oh well another theory up in smoke!

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