14 November 2006 | ashew
The Second Time Around
Like the old Sinatra song, things can be far better the second time around. The first time I saw "Cry Danger" it was shortly after a viewing of "Murder, My Sweet" and it just couldn't compare to that classic. I recently viewed the movie again and I must say that "Cry Danger" was a lot of fun.
The real stars of the movie are 1) the dialogue, and 2) Dick Powell's delivery of that dialogue. Bogart and Mitchum are blue collar guys who deliver these kinds of one-liners beautifully...and it stings...but Powell has an air of elegance and intelligence wrapped in a white collar, so when he gets caustic, condescending, sarcastic, and nasty, it seems to hurt even more. And it hurts so good. There is nothing more delicious to Noir fans than Powell letting rip with a great one-liner. And the more casual he is, the more "tossed away" the line is delivered, the more we grin with satisfaction. It's just a thing of beauty.
The supporting cast is good, with just about everyone pulling their weight admirably. William Conrad, Regis Toomey, and Rhonda Fleming are in fine form. I was expecting twists, turns, and deceit from Erdman's character, but after an interesting reveal in the beginning of the film, his character seems to be abandoned and left only to provide some comic relief. That missed opportunity aside, though, the script is fun and moves along briskly.
The direction is just fine, though not as dark as I would have liked it...but that is a minor complaint. There is a rawness and realism to these B films that I find much more rewarding than a lot of the glossy A films produced.
8 out of 10 for a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half crawl through the seedy underbelly of Tinsel Town.