This post is a part of TMP’s Barbara Stanwyck Filmography project, my attempt to review every film Barbara Stanwyck ever made. For more posts from this project, check out my Listography page.
Sandra Marshall (Barbara Stanwyck) has arrived at a remote mansion owned by her recently-deceased husband Jim Demarest (Richard Basehart) with the intent of sharing the news with Jim’s family that he was secretly married.
Upon arrival she meets Mark Caldwell (Errol Flynn), Jim’s uncle. Mark is hesitant to believe Sandra, even when she produces a marriage license.
Sandra and Jim’s marriage was not one of love: she married him as a favor. Jim’s mother left him an inheritance, but the money was left in trust until Jim either reached the age of thirty or got married. With their marriage made official, Jim would get his inheritance, and after six months he would allow Sandra to divorce him and give her money to pay for her education.
But Jim’s death came only five months into the marriage, and if she can prove herself as Jim’s wife, Sandra will inherit the full amount of $2,000,000.
Cry Wolf was released in 1947 and directed by Peter Godfrey for Warner Bros.
Sandra Marshall is another strong, feisty Stanwyck character and of course, she pulls it off with ease.
Errol Flynn gives a good peformance as well, and he makes a good foe/potential romance for Stanwyck. There’s plenty of both tension and chemistry between the two stars, which works well for the complex dynamics that exist between their characters.
Geraldine Brooks makes an appearance as well, in the role of Jim’s younger sister, Julie. There is a high level of tension between Brooks and Flynn, as well as a number of strong scenes between Brooks and Stanwyck. Their characters team up to sleuth around the estate and solve a mystery (more on that below), which is a ton of fun to watch.
Strong lead and supporting performances aside, Cry Wolf has a very interesting story to tell. It isn’t just a drama of inheritance but a tale of family secrets, including some very mysterious work in a huge lab on Jim’s estate. (Stanwyck and Brooks try to uncover the mysteries of his lab together quite early in the film.)
Cry Wolf is a great story with some psychological intrigue plus lots of mystery, drama and tension. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, the at-times-overdramatic music… pretty much everything about it. It’s a solid entry into Stanwyck’s filmography and one of my favorite Barbara Stanwyck Filmography Project discoveries thus far. The score: 4.5/5