23 January 2010 | Bunuel1976
CRY OF THE WEREWOLF (Henry Levin, 1944) **1/2
Apart from Universal's "Larry Talbot" series, it seems that most of the early werewolf films are fairly maligned nowadays; this one, emanating from Columbia, is another of them: ironically, that studio had inserted a talking(!) lycanthrope in their bloodsucking flick THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1944) but, when it came time to make a standalone entry into the subgenre, they opted to use a normal wolf (amusingly shown 'munching' all through the opening credits)!! To be honest, the film under review has much more to do with RKO's CAT PEOPLE (1942) than THE WOLF MAN (1941) – actually the principal inspiration behind the Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur classic itself: not only is the monster of the female variety but, towards the end, she is likewise shown terrorizing the heroine (though these scenes have none of the impact of the panther's celebrated late-night stalkings!). Still, all things considered, I have to say that I enjoyed this 63-minute film: the obligatory concocted folklore may not have added up to much this time around, but the atmosphere is fairly nice throughout; Nina Foch (THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE's heroine here graduating to the monster role) and Osa Massen fill the central roles quite adequately, too (their authentic foreign origins helping more than their acting talent in this regard), and even the combined police detection and comic relief (usually redundant elements in this type of movie) prove tolerable under the circumstances.