Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming “Cry Danger”

Cry Danger (1951) is an American film noir drama directed by Robert Parrish and starring Dick Powell, and Rhonda Fleming. The supporting cast includes Richard Erdman, William Conrad, Regis Toomey, and Jean Porter.

Rocky Mulloy (Powell) was sentenced to life in prison for a robbery and murder that he did not commit. He is released five years later when an “eyewitness,” a one-legged ex-Marine named Delong (Erdman) said he didnt do it. The alibi by Delong is a fake one, but ever the opportunist, by freeing Rocky, he hopes to share in the missing $100,000 from the robbery. However, Rocky says he wasn’t involved with the robbery and is determined to find out who framed him and his friend Danny Morgan, whose wife Nancy (Fleming) was involved with Rocky before she married Danny. Nancy seems to want to start where they left off many years ago which makes Rocky uncomfortable and complicates his quest to clear himself and Danny.

Will Rocky uncover who framed him and will he be able to clear his name.


Robert Parrish (1916 – 195) was an American film director, film editor, and former child actor. As a child, Parrish appeared in many silent films, including the classic Sunrise: A Story of Two Humans. He transitioned to talking pictures including Anna Christie (1930) with Greta Garbo, The Big Trail (1930) with John Wayne, and Forbidden (1932) with Barbara Stanwyck. Parish, with John Ford’s encouragement,  began working behind the scenes as a film editor. He worked with Ford on Stagecoach (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), and The Grapes of Wrath. Parrish won an Academy Award (shared with Francis Lyon) for editing Body and Soul (1947). Cry Danger (1951) was Parrish’s first directorial effort. He went on the direct major stars like Jane Wyman, Charlton Heston, Rita Hayworth, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Cain.

Dick Powell (1904 - 1963) was an American actor, singer, producer, and director. He began his movie career in musicals and comedies but eventually toughened up his image in the mid-1940s where he became a popular star of films noir. He was the first actor to portray Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944). After appearing in his last film, Susan Slept Here, Powell started directing. In the 1950s he was one of the founders of Four Star Television along with Charles Boyer, David Niven, and Ida Lupino. Some popular films starring Powell include 42nd Street (1933), A Midsummer's Night Dream (1935), Christmas in July (1940), Pitfall (1948), and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).

Rhonda Fleming (1923 – 2020) was an American actress and singer. Fleming was discovered walking to high school by agent Henry Willson. She was signed to a seven-year contract without a screen test, “it was a Cinderella story, but those things could happened in those days,” said Fleming. She had bit parts in Since You Went Away (1944) and When Strangers Marry (1944). Fleming had her first substantial role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. In 1949, Fleming won the female lead in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949) co-starring Bing Crosby. In that film, she got to show off her singing ability. Also in 1949, she co-starred with Bob Hope in The Great Lover. Ten years later, she co-starred with Hope again in Alias Jesse James. After her film career slowed down, Fleming worked in television starting in the 1950s. She worked for several charities and established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Women’s Comprehensive Care at the UCLA Medical Center.

Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming

Cry Danger trivia

  • Actress Jean Porter said that Dick Powell directed the film but gave the screen credit to Robert Parrish.
  • This is Rhonda Fleming’s personal favorite of all her films.
  • Fleming donated to restore the film by the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA’s Film and Television Archive.
  • There is a credit for the song “Cry Danger” but no song by that name is heard in the film.
  • $100,000 in 1946 (when the film took place) is equivalent to over one million dollars today.


Click HERE to watch the movie on YouTube.


Click HERE to join the discussion May 13, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation and a link to join the discussion on Zoom.


Discussion questions

  1. How do you think this film compared with Pitfall?
  2. Does this film fit with your idea of a “classic” film noir?
  3. Film noir plots are notoriously complicated and hard to follow. Where you able to follow the plot of Cry Danger?
  4. What did you think of Fleming’s performance? Was she a typical femme fatale?
  5. Did this film surprise you in any way?


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