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Cry Wolf

Cry Wolf
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$17.49 list: price $19.99 (save 13%)

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Reviewer:Craig Butler, Cry Wolf wants so hard to be a nail-biting, eerie "old dark house" mystery that a viewer keeps trying to put aside its flaws and give it the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, Wolf never justifies this effort on the viewer's part, and ends up being overall a disappointment; it's adequate, but nothing more. None of this is the fault of star Barbara Stanwyck, who turns in one of her usually dependable performances. During this period (and indeed, even in later periods when her status as a major star had waned), Stanwyck could be counted on to put her all into a role, even when the material scarcely deserved such devotion, and such is the case with Wolf. She pretends the screenplay isn't as full of holes as it so obviously is, she makes he character make sense even when it clearly doesn't, and she delivers some painfully inept dialogue as if she had been handed Billy Wilder at his sharpest. She rises above the material, which unfortunately her co-star Errol Flynn does not. Granted, his character has been handled much worse than Stanwyck's; the creators want an Max de Winter type who keeps the audience guessing as to his true character and intentions, but they saddle the actor with a character that is simply undefined and changes whenever the writers wish him to. Under the circumstances, there's little Flynn can do, but he unfortunately chooses thereby to do little indeed. Richard Basehart comes off a bit better, and some will appreciate Geraldine Brooks' mannered performance. Peter Godfrey's direction is scattershot, much like the screenplay. So it all ends up on Stanwyck's back pretty much -- whose back, fortunately, is pretty sturdy. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi