Cry of the City (1948)

“Look at him, Tony: his leg shot full of holes, fever going up, no place to go, no place to sleep — just run, run, run till he can’t run anymore.”

Synopsis:
A wounded cop-killer (Richard Conte) escapes from a prison hospital in order to protect his innocent girlfriend (Debra Paget) from an unscrupulous lawyer (Berry Kroeger) — but Lieutenant Candella (Victor Mature) is on his trail…

Genres:

Review:
Cry of the City starts out like a classic flashback film: a wounded criminal is badgered by the police and a shady lawyer to admit his guilt in a heist he claims he wasn’t part of, and we duly expect to hear him tell his version of the story. Instead, our expectations are foiled, as Cry of the City takes us places we never expected to go, and unusual characters — a hefty female masseuse, an unlicensed European doctor, a teenager who speaks Italian to foil the police — are introduced one after the other. The action never stops, and characters’ motivations are complex enough to make us care about the outcome. This film’s rather generic title belies a tightly-made noir thriller, one which epitomizes director Robert Siodmak’s best work.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Richard Conte as the determined fugitive
    Richard Conte
  • Fine performances by supporting cast members — especially the unusual-looking Hope Emerson (a “thin-lipped Amazon of a woman”, according to the New York Times — see link below)
    Hope Emerson
  • A gritty, smart screenplay

Must See?
No, but it’s a terrific thriller, and well worth watching at least once.

Links:

One Response to “Cry of the City (1948)”

  1. First viewing. Not a must but, as noted, well worth watching once. Competently acted and directed, it holds interest but remains, albeit of necessity, pretty much at a level too low-key. Director Siodmak manages a little extra tension now and then, which helps.

    Of particular note (as stated) is the unique (debut) performance by Hope Emerson, easily the most unsettling character in the piece. Two years later, Emerson would turn in another impressive performance in ‘Caged’.

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