A Cry in the Night (1956): The art of the interlude…

A Cry in the Night (1956)

As different as the street language of the gangster, detective, or newspaper film is from the high society chatter of the screwball comedy, all these genres are characterized by a rapid-fire delivery, a lovely zippy rhythm. In all cases, it is a cinema that has a buoyant energy and expresses that energy in a rapid, clever, excited use of language. There is a love of language here that seems to reflect a love of life. – John Fawell, THE HIDDEN ART OF HOLLYWOOD: In Defense of the Studio Era Film (Greenwood Publishing 2008) p. 169

What I love about Hollywood movies of the classic period is their lack of pretentiousness, of not letting an earnest story-line become overwhelming and making the movie experience oppressive. After all entertainment was their business. You see this best in those gratuitous interludes that do not advance the plot nor involve the protagonists, and usually work, in the limited time allowed them, through clever dialog, and by, to paraphrase Fawell, rapid-fire delivery and a zippy rhythm.

A Cry in the Night (1956) is a solid Warner Bros. b of 75 minutes from director Frank Tuttle (This Gun for Hire (1942), Suspense (1946), Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)), in which an intelligent script by David Dortort, from a novel by Whit Masterson (aka H. William Miller), manages to survey parenthood and rebellious teens while telling the story of an 18-yo girl’s abduction by a disturbed 32-yo loner still tied to his mother’s apron-strings. The story of the abduction and the police search takes place over a few hours after midnight. Raymond Burr excels as the mama’s boy, and Natalia Wood is really impressive as the abducted girl. Edmund O’Brien plays the girl’s father, a blustery off-duty cop, and Brian Donlevy is the steady police captain heading the search.

As the investigation progresses, many of the film’s scenes switch between the local police station and the cops out on the trail of the suspect. Half-way through the film, the script in a nicely comic interlude introduces another shift back to the station. This throw-away scene, which is so well-crafted it is as memorable as the movie, is shown in the following clip. B-stringer Tina Carver plays the dame.

3 thoughts on “A Cry in the Night (1956): The art of the interlude…”

  1. Tony said, “Half-way through the film, the script in a nicely comic interlude introduces another shift back to the station. This throw-away scene, which is so well-crafted it is as memorable as the movie, is shown in the following clip. B-stringer Tina Carver plays the dame.”

    Hi! Tony,
    Wow! This scene said, so very much…without really saying anything…I must admit that was a good bit–of–business.
    Unfortunately, I have never watched the 1956 film “Cry in the Night,” but I will seek it out…If it’s available on DVD…I plan to rent it…if not, I plan to purchase it from one of my ever–reliable sellers.

    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

    Like

  2. A splendid capsule with a terrific qualifying lead-in. Yes, Hollywood cinema of yore was unpretentious, and the goal was entertainment on a level far more soulful than what we are getting today. This is a terrific example of this concept here!

    Like

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