Cry Danger, a Dick Powell vehicle from RKO, is a flaccid affair with no tension and labored humor. Powell plays ‘Rocky’ Malloy, a guy with a past just released from a life stretch after 5 years in the can, thanks to the better-late-than-never testimony of a vet with a wooden leg and a drink problem. Back in LA he shacks up in a trailer park to shake down the hood that framed him. A novel twist at the end can’t save the show.
Rookie director Robert Parrish is to blame: the pacing is sluggish and you keep waiting for something to happen. There is no atmosphere and it all plays out like a too long second-rate 50s TV police drama. A sorry example of how not to make a noir. Powell and Rhonda Fleming, as the love interest, are wasted, as is DP Joe Biroc, who never really gets a chance to insinuate some LA darkness into the mix. The promise of the opening scene when we see Powell arriving by train is never realised after being immediately negated by the absurd use of rear-screen projection shots for scenes outside the railway station. There is a noirish shot of Powell entering a bar at night, but it is all technique and no soul.
Overrated and dull.