Cry Terror! (1958)
Director: Andrew L. Stone
Screenplay by: Andrew L. Stone
Starring: James Mason, Rod Steiger, Inger Stevens, Neville Brand, Angie Dickinson, Kenneth Tobey, Jack Klugman, Jack Kruschen, Carleton Young, Barney Phillips, Chet Huntley, Jonathan Hole, Mae Marsh and William Schallert.
Tagline: TERRIFYING…as the time-triggered explosive of a mad bomber ticking-ticking-ticking!
Jim Molner (Mason) is sickened to discover that his old army buddy, Paul Hoplin (Steiger) duped him. Molner created a small, but powerful bomb design. He was told it was for the U.S. army. Hoplin instead used it to extort money from an airline. He had one of the bombs placed on a airplane where it would be found with a note demanding $500,000.00. The note said there were other bombs on other planes and gave a deadline for payment.
Now Jim, his wife, Joan (Stevens) and their small daughter are being held by Hoplin’s crime partners. Molner and his daughter are captives of Vince (Klugman) and Eileen Kelly (Dickinson). Joan is at the mercy of Steve (Brand), a convicted rapist. Jim and Joan realize that they and their daughter are going to be killed even if the money is delivered. It will be up to them to figure a way to survive. The clock is ticking.
Thoughts (beware of spoilers
Cry Terror! features an awesome cast:
- James Mason, who had earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination three years prior was the star.
- Rod Steiger, who also earned an Oscar nomination three years prior, for Best Supporting Actor, co-starred. Steiger is great as the nerdy, creepy but dangerous mastermind.
- Inger Stevens in only her second feature film played Mason’s wife. Her life would end tragically by suicide when she was just 35.
- Neville Brand is excellent as a pill-popping sexual predator.
- Angie Dickinson plays a woman as tough as the men and even more cold-hearted. She’d hate to kill a kid, but she’d despise losing the payoff even more.
- Jack Klugman as a bad guy!
- The rest of the cast features many familiar faces: Kenneth (The Thing From Another World) Tobey, Jack (The War of the Worlds) Kruschen, Carleton (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) Young, Barney (The Twilight Zone) Phillips, Chet (The Huntley – Brinkley Report) Huntley, Jonathan (The Twilight Zone) Hole and William (The Patty Duke Show) Schallert.
Kudos to Cry Terror! writer and director Andrew L. Stone for writing/directing a movie that still holds up. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The year before Cry Terror! was released, Stone wrote and directed a film called Julie. It starred Doris Day as a woman who learns that her insanely jealous husband intends to kill her. Julie featured many of the same actors (Barney Phillips, Jack Kruschen, Carleton Young, Harlan Warde and Mae Marsh) as Cry Terror! Andrew L. Stone received a Best Writing, Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for Julie.