CRY OF THE WEREWOLF
(director: Henry Levin; screenwriters: Griffin Jay/story Jay/Charles O’Neal; cinematographer: L. W. O’Connell; editor: Reg Browne; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Nina Foch (Marie Latour, Celeste), Fritz Leiber (Dr. Charles Morris), Stephen Crane (Robert ‘Bob’ Morris), Osa Massen (Elsa Chauvet), Blanche Yurka (Bianca), Barton MacLane (Lt. Barry Lane), Ivan Triesault (Jan Spavero), John Abbott (Peter Althius), Fred Graff (Pinkie), John Tyrrell (Mac), Robert Williams (Homer), Ivan Triesault (Yan Spaverno), Milton Parsons (Adamson); Runtime: 63; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Wallace MacDonald; Columbia Pictures; 1944-B/W)
“A little too dull.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Henry Levin (“The Desperados”/”Genghis Khan”), in his film debut, directs this old-fashioned werewolf film in an efficient but conventional way, that’s a little heavy on the eyes and a little too dull. It was intended to be a sequel to The Return of the Vampire, but writers Griffin Jay and Charles O’Neal were ordered by the studio to switch from vampires to werewolves.
Nina Foch is the dead gypsy queen Marie Latour of the Troiga tribe, rumored to be a werewolf, who after her death her daughter Celeste (Foch) replaces her as the high priestess. She becomes a werewolf when she wants to kill.
Dr. Charles Morris (Fritz Leiber), a believer in the werewolf legend and the curator of the Latour museum in New Orleans, located in Marie’s former home, is killed by the daughter werewolf in a secret passage of the museum, after the gypsy tribe head (Blanche Yurka) discovers that Dr. Morris discovered the werewolf rumors about Marie Latour are true and was intending to write a book to expose her.
Dr. Bob Morris (Stephen Crane), a Washington scientist, is called by his dad to visit him and help him on his discovery (which dad never told him what it was). Bob now wants to solve the mystery of his father’s death and find the one who killed dad and also put the museum tour guide (John Abbott) into a trance. He teams with the loyal museum worker, Elsa Chauvet (Osa Massen), his bride to soon be, formerly of Transylvania, to catch the killer by trying to put together his father’s burnt manuscript. The cops, under the investigation of the cynical Lt. detective, Barry Lane (Barton MacLane ), take the case only after their lab man (Fred Graff) finds the killer’s fingerprints are those of a wolf.
Comic relief is provided by Maclane’s underling in the investigation (Robert Williams). Ivan Triesault has a good turn as a member of the Troiga gypsy tribe, who is a janitor at the museum. And Milton Parsons shines as the eager to please funeral director who handles the secretive funeral arrangements for the Troigas.
At only 63 minutes, the horror pic is bearable.
REVIEWED ON 8/20/2020 GRADE: B-