Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Dec. 7, 2019, Mystery Movie

This week’s mystery movie was the 1956 Warner Bros. film “A Cry in the Night,” with Edmond O’Brien, Brian Donlevy, Natalie Wood, Raymond Burr, Richard Anderson, Irene Hervey, Carol Vezzie, Mary Lawrence, Anthony Caruso, George J. Lewis, Peter Hanson, Tina Carver and Herb Vigran.

Screenplay by David Dortort based on a novel by Whit Masterson, photography by John Seitz (“Double Indemnity!”), art direction by Malcolm Bert, editing by Folmar Blangsted, sound by M.A. Merrick, set decorations by Frank M. Miller, costumes by Moss Mabry, makeup by Gordon Bau, orchestrations by Maurice de Packh, assistant director Robert Farfan, music by David Buttolph, associate producer George C. Bertholon.

Directed by Frank Tuttle. A Jaguar production. (This was Alan Ladd’s production company).

“A Cry in the Night” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Yes, we have a theme going: “Somewhere in the Night” last week and “A Cry in the Night” this week. And that’s about all this movie has going for it. Edmond O’Brien is terribly hammy, Brian Donlevy sleepwalks through his scenes and Natalie Wood spends much of the time in a faint.

Dec. 7, 2019, Mystery Photo

Like here.

The major problem with “A Cry in the Night” isn’t the cast or Tuttle’s iffy direction (he directed “This Gun for Hire”). The problem – and it’s a large one – is David Dortort’s ghastly script, which has a number of unessential characters and attempts to contrast amusing little scenes with the tense drama of Wood’s kidnapping. The problem is that comedy relief isn’t comic and the drama isn’t all that tense. (Dortort is much better known as the producer on “Bonanza,” which, for the youngsters in the crowd, was one of the most successful TV series of all time.)

If it weren’t for Raymond Burr, “A Cry in the Night” would be a total loss. But Burr is damn creepy and as such saves the film.

Writing in the New York Times (Sept. 1, 1956), RWN said:

Natalie Wood, Warner Bros’ seemingly ubiquitous teenager, who so far this year has endured quivering captivity in “The Searchers” and “The Burning Hills,” again plays the vulnerable feminine hostage in “A Cry in the Night,” which came to the palace yesterday.

This time, Miss Wood’s abductor is a sex-crazed maniac, played by Raymond Burr. He snatches poor Natalie from the arms of her boyfriend at a place called Lover’s Loop and holds her under duress at an abandoned brick factory throughout the length of this rather tasteless and makeshift melodrama.

Harrison’s Reports (Aug. 18, 1956) said:

Theatres that cater to morbid tastes should get by with “A Cry in the Night” on the lower half of a double bill, but as an entertainment it is not well done and leaves much to be desired…. The story lacks conviction and the characters do not impress one as being real people. Despite the ordinary script, Natalie Wood is effective as the distressed teenager and Raymond Burr as the psychopath… The photography is good, but much of it is in a low key.

Film Bulletin (Aug. 20, 1956) said:

This low-budget Jaguar production for Warner Bros. release is an off-beat melodrama about a psychopath who kidnaps a teenage girl. Suited strictly for lower-half billing in action and ballyhoo houses, it might be exploited as a “where are your children?” shocker. Performances by a better than average cast are better than story material.

Dec. 2, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery woman savoring a mysterious cup of coffee. Note: This mystery movie is unusually heavy on Friday people at five, though one of them is on the edge of being an “Aha Thursday.” I will have to go way down the cast list for the early part of the week.

Update: This is Carol Veazie, who insists her little boy (Raymond Burr) is a good son and brings her apricot pie.

Dec. 3, 2019, Mystery Photo

Dec. 3, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman. And let me tell you, she does NOT approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Mary Lawrence. Her character has no real function except to scold daddy Edmond O’Brien that if he weren’t such an overbearing grump, sweet Natalie Wood could entertain gentleman callers at home and not necking in a car.

Brain Trust roll call: Norman Desmond (Monday’s mystery woman), Jenny M. (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery woman) and L.C. (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery woman and mystery cast).

Dec. 4, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Wednesday, we have a mystery gent. Back of the Head Guy will make his appearance Friday.

Update: This is Charles Cane, who as the police psychologist, explains everything in a brief monologue.

Dec. 4, 2019, Mystery Photo

We also have this mystery woman of rather dubious character.

Update: This is Tina Carver in a moment of comedy relief.

Dec. 4, 2019, Mystery Photo

And finally, this mystery woman, who could be Harriet Nelson but isn’t.

Update: This is Irene Hervey as grumpy Edmond O’Brien’s long-suffering wife.

Dec. 5, 2019, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have these somewhat mysterious gents.

Update: More comedy relief. The pickpocket (Syd Saylor) and his mark (Hal K. Dawson).

Dec. 5, 2019, Mystery Photo

Also this police officer, who does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Herb Vigran as the “now I’ve seen everything” desk sergeant.

Dec. 5, 2019, Mystery Photo

And finally….

Update: This is Richard Anderson.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, all the mystery women and Back of the Head Guy), Chrisbo (Back of the Head Guy), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, all the mystery women and Back of the Head Guy), Sheila (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery woman, and Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 2) and B.J. Merholz (Back of the Head Guy).

Dec. 6, 2019, Mystery Photo
For Friday, here is non-mysterious guest No. 1.

Update: This is the sleepwalking Brian Donlevy.

Dec. 6, 2019, Mystery Photo
Friday’s unmysterious guest No. 2 wonders if the potato salad has gone bad.

Update: This is the hammy, overacting Edmond O’Brien.

Dec. 6, 2019, Mystery Photo
Friday’s less than mysterious guest No. 3 means business.

Update: This is Natalie Wood in one of the few scenes in which she hasn’t fainted.

Dec. 6, 2019, Mystery Photo

Friday’s totally non-mystery guest No. 4 is probably the best thing about our mystery movie.

Update: This is Raymond Burr in full-on creep mode.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery police sergeant and mystery man with bandaged forehead), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests, Thursday’s mystery pickpocket, mysterious police sergeant and mysterious man with bandaged forehead), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), David Inman (Thursday’s mystery police sergeant) and Benito (Thursday’s mysterious man with bandaged forehead).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1956, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Carol Veazie.
    She played Forrest Tucker’s mother in Auntie Mame.


  2. B.J. Merholz says:

    It’s too early in the week for Connie Gilchrist, and too early in Hollywood for Doris Roberts, so I’m stumped.


  3. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Isabel Randolph.


  4. Jenny M says:

    Carol Veazie in A Cry in the Night.


  5. LC says:

    Carol Veazie in A Cry in the Night (1956) w/Edmund O’Brien, Brian Donlevy, Natalie Wood, Raymond Burr, Richard Anderson, etc…


  6. Eve says:

    Omigawd, Monday’s Mystery Lady looks like Fred and Ethel Mertz actually had a daughter!


  7. Sylvia E. says:

    Monday’s actress reminds me of Sara Allgood, but I don’t think it’s her. This looks like a 50’s movie and Ms. Allgood passed away in ’50.

    Back to the hunt.


  8. Mary Mallory says:

    A CRY IN THE NIGHT. Carol Veazle Monday, Mary Lawrence Tuesday, BOTH guy Edmond O’Brien, and Tina Carver and Irene Hervey today.


  9. Mary Mallory says:

    Brick Sullivan as the policeman.


  10. Chrisbo says:

    I’m getting an Edmond O’Brien vibe from Wednesdays back of head guy.


  11. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    A CRY IN THE NIGHT (1956)
    Monday: Carol Veazie
    Tuesday: Mary Lawrence, Brick Sullivan, Edmond O’Brien
    Wednesday: Tina Carver, Irene Hervey


  12. Sheila says:

    Carol Veazie for Monday, Irene Hervey for Wednesday, ‘A Cry in the Night’?


  13. B.J. Merholz says:

    Edmond O’Brien can’t wait till Friday.


  14. Mary Mallory says:

    Jack Mower, Fred Kelsey, Herb Vigran, and Richard Anderson.


  15. tucsonbarbara says:

    “Somewhere in the Night”

    Monday – Carol Veazie
    Tuesday – Mary Lawrence
    Wednesday – Edmond O’Brien, Tina Carver, Irene Hervey
    Thursday – Syd Saylor, Fred Kelsey, Herb Vigran


  16. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Sid Saylor, Hal K. Dawson; Herb Vigran; Richard Anderson.


  17. David Inman says:

    Herb Vigran today?


  18. Benito says:

    Someone conked Richard Anderson. Call the Six Million $ Man…


  19. Earl Boebert says:

    Aha! Whit Bissell for Thursday. My guess out of the hundreds he did is “Naked Street” 1955.


  20. tucsonbarbara says:

    *face palm* Obviously, I meant “A Cry in the Night”

    Friday – Brian Donlevy, Edmond O’Brien, Natalie Wood, and Raymond Burr


  21. Mary Mallory says:

    Brian Donlevy, Edmond O’Brien, Natalie Wood, and Raymond Burr today. Sid Saylor and Hal K. Dawson yesterday.


  22. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Brian Donlevy, Edmond O’Brien, Natalie Wood, Raymond Burr.


  23. Gary says:

    Congratulations: you have indeed rounded up all the usual suspects. ( I was a big Natalie fan at that time but I have been completely unaware that such a film as this was ever made.)


  24. Sylvia E. says:

    Your truly spent Thursday and Friday in her sick bed.
    On Wednesday evening I made a ‘self only’ guess of Edmund O’Brien as the BOTHG. Didn’t send my guess in, though.

    Interesting film subject for it’s time. Thanks


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