Cry Wolf (1947 film)

Cry Wolf is a 1947 American mystery film directed by Peter Godfrey and featuring Errol Flynn and Barbara Stanwyck, based on the novel of the same name by Marjorie Carleton.[4]

Cry Wolf
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Godfrey
Produced byHenry Blanke
Screenplay byCatherine Turney
Based onCry Wolf
1945 novel
by Marjorie Carleton
StarringErrol Flynn
Barbara Stanwyck
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyCarl E. Guthrie
Edited byFolmar Blangsted
Thomson Production
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
18 July 1947[1]
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US rentals)[3] or $2,690,000[2]


Hearing that her husband is dead, Sandra Marshall arrives at his prominent family's remote estate to claim her inheritance. She receives a cold reception, especially from the husband's uncle, research scientist Mark Caldwell, who had not known about her. He even accuses her of being a schemer. But he allows her to stay in the mansion while details are worked out.

Caldwell's teenage niece, Julie, welcomes Sandra. But what the girl says is troubling. She claims her uncle is holding her prisoner on the property, that strange things are going on in a sealed-off area of the mansion, and that the older family members and their servants may not be telling the truth about the recent death. Though Caldwell insists that Julie simply has an overactive imagination, Sandra begins to wonder what to believe and whom to trust. She wants to find out for herself.



Original Novel

The novel was published in January 1945. The New York Times said "the plot has pace; the manse is traditionally eerie, the heroine is charming. Situations and dialogue, however, are often clumsily handled."[5] The Chicago Tribune called it "a spicy piece".[6]


In April 1945 Warner Bros bought the film rights as a vehicle for Barbara Stanwyck.[7] Catherine Turney was assigned to do the script and Dennis Morgan announced as co star.[8]

The film took a while to be made. In March 1946, Errol Flynn was announced as co star and Peter Godfrey as director.[9] Dorothy Malone was originally announced to play the second lead.[10] The movie was a "Thomson Production", i.e. made through Flynn's company at Warner Bros.[11]

Two of the supporting cast were from the New York stage, Geraldine Brooks and Richard Basehart, and had just been put under contract by Warner Bros. (Basehart had given an acclaimed stage performance in The Hasty Heart.)[12][13]


Filming took place in August 1946.[14]


The film was not released until July 1947.


The Wall Street Journal said the film was "often as dull as it is frightening because its melodramatic story is full of cliches... without tommy gun or sword, Mr Flynn seems unhappily wooden."[15] The Christian Science Monitor said it "grips the attention and holds it right through...the result is something well above average."[16]

"Its melodramatic antics are rather fun," said the Washington Post.[17]

The Los Angeles Times called the film "murky" and "fairly opaque" although it felt audiences "are likely to be impressed by the performance of Flynn."[18]

The New York Times said "its final explanation of the mystery is ridiculous and banal."[19]

Box Office

The film was moderately successful at the box office, Variety estimating its rentals in the US and Canada at $2 million.[3]

According to Warner Bros records, the film earned $1,842,000 domestically and $848,000 foreign.[2]


  1. RUSSELL TO STAR IN 'VELVET TOUCH': Sidney Greenstreet to Share Top Honors in Independent Artists' Production Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 18 July 1947: 21.
  2. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 27 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  3. "Top Grossers of 1947", Variety, 7 January 1948 p 63
  4. Cry Wolf at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  5. Other Items on the Fiction List New York Times 28 Jan 1945: BR10.
  6. 'Cry Wolf' Is Spicy Piece of Horrors Guilfoil, Kelsey. Chicago Daily Tribune 14 Jan 1945: E9.
  7. SCREEN NEWS: TO AID ACTORS FUND Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times 19 Apr 1945: 22.
  8. Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 09 Aug 1945: 21.
  9. Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 25 Mar 1946: 21.
  10. Hopper, Hedda. Looking at Hollywood. Chicago Daily Tribune, 7 May 1946: 18.
  11. Hedda Hopper: LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD Los Angeles Times 25 Mar 1946: A6.
  12. Schallert, Edwin. "Stage Mimicry Leads Girl to Cinema Career". Los Angeles Times, 8 May 1946: A7.
  13. TONY MARTIN SET FOR M-G-M MUSICAL: Named Co-Star With Kathryn Grayson in 'Kissing Bandit' --3 Arrivals Due Today Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES 8 May 1946: 43.
  14. DRAMA AND FILM: Carter, Wynn Teaming in 'Century' Talked Up Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 22 Apr 1947: A3.
  15. The Theatre: Murder in a Laboratory Wall Street Journal (1923 - Current file) [New York, N.Y] 21 July 1947: 10.
  16. David Niven As Doctor In 'Other Love': 'Cry Wolf' D.M.D.M.. The Christian Science Monitor 8 Aug 1947: 5.
  17. Melodramatic Antics: 'Cry Wolf' Mixes Stanwyck, Flynn By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post 8 Aug 1947: 23.
  18. 'CRY WOLF' ERRATIC Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 09 Aug 1947: A5.
  19. Cry Wolf,' a Warner Mystery 'Offering Flynn, Stanwyck and Geraldine Brooks, at Strand -- British Film Bill at Rialto By BOSLEY CROWTHER. New York Times 19 July 1947: 10.

Other references

  1. Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer * Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 147.
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