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CRY VENGEANCE (director/writer: Mark Stevens; screenwriters: George Bricker/Warren Douglas; cinematographer: William Sickner; editor: Elmo Veron; music: Paul Dunlap; cast: Mark Stevens (Vic Barron), Martha Hyer (Peggy Harding), Skip Homeier (Roxey Davis), Joan Vohs (Lily Arnold), Cheryl Callaway(Marie Morelli ), Douglas Kennedy(Tino Morelli), Mort Mills (Johnny), Richard Deacon(Rusty, bartender), Lewis Martin (Nick Buda), Warren Douglas (Mike), Don Haggerty (Lt. Pat Ryan), John Doucette(Red Miller); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lindsley Parsons; Republic Pictures Home Video; 1954)
A blend of hard-boiled action and mush.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Mark Stevens (“Gun Fever”/”Time Table”/”Escape from Hell Island“) directs, cowrites and stars in this minor film noir revenge pic that is a blend of hard-boiled action and mush. The weak script by Stevens, George Bricker and Warren Douglas has too many contrivances and loose ends to overcome and despite the rousing action scenes, it’s not in total much better than acceptable. What kept me alert was the slimy performance of Skip Homeier, as the villain you love to hiss at as he hams it up as a dangerous sleaze with a sneer and dressed in a bow-tie.

Former no-nonsense tough San Francisco detective Vic Barron (Mark Stevens) is released from San Quentin prison after serving three years for a crime of handling hot money, a crime in which he was framed for and vows revenge on the gangsters who set him up and planted a bomb in his car that accidentally killed his wife and kid and left his face badly scarred. Vic believes racketeer Tino Morelli (Douglas Kennedy) is responsible because he was closing in on making an arrest. Vic defies Lt. Pat Ryan (Don Haggerty), his old boss, who with good intentions warns him to forget about it. Instead Vic buys a gun in a pawn shop. Later that day Vic learns from an old flame, Lily Arnold (Joan Vohs), who hangs around a club owned by racketeer Nick Buda (Lewis Martin), that Tino is hiding out in Ketchikan, Alaska, and immediately goes there.

Vic meets the friendly owner of the Frontier bar, Peggy Harding(Martha Hyer), and learns she’s friends withMorelli, who is posing as nice guy businessman Al Corey. The former racketeer is reformed and carrying on a legit business in town, and cares a great deal for his 6-year-old daughter Marie (Cheryl Callaway). When Tino tries to tell Vic he didn’t kill his wife, Vic retorts that he came here to kill him. Meanwhile crime kingpin Nick orders his psychopath hit man Roxey Davis (Skip Homeier) to follow Vic to Alaska and bump off Tino, and thereby frame Vic this time for murder. It seems Nick ordered Roxey to plant the car bomb to kill the cop, but Roxey bungled the job killing Vic’s family instead. The Frisco gangsters are now afraid that Vic will learn the truth from Tino and come after them instead, so the ruthless gangsters aim to strike first and in the process knock off the gabby Lily.

The mush comes in heavy doses when Vic gets humanized by Peggy’s love for him and the innocent sweetness of Marie, and leaves Alaska a thawed out man.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”