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Cry of the Hunted

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Cry of the Hunted
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph H. Lewis
Screenplay byJack Leonard
Story byJack Leonard
Marion Wolfe
Produced byWilliam Grady Jr.
StarringVittorio Gassman
Barry Sullivan
Polly Bergen
CinematographyHarold Lipstein
Edited byConrad A. Nervig
Music byRudolph G. Kopp
Distributed byLoew's Inc
Release date
  • May 8, 1953 (1953-05-08) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$625,000[1]

Cry of the Hunted is a 1953 American crime film noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis. The drama features Vittorio Gassman, Barry Sullivan and Polly Bergen.[2]


An obsessive lawman (Barry Sullivan) who works for the state chases an escaped fugitive (Vittorio Gassman) through the Louisiana bayou.



According to MGM records the film earned $376,000 in the US and Canada and $249,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $179,000.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Hal Erickson, of Allmovie, has praised the directing of the film, writing, "On the whole, the MGM B product of the 1950s contained some of the studio's best-ever 'small' pictures...Cry of the Hunted is directed with flair by Joseph H. Lewis, who always managed to rise above the slimmest of budgets and the barest of production values."[3]

TV Guide in its film guide also wrote well of the film, "Stylishly directed chase film from Lewis who had previously shown his talent in Gun Crazy...At one point he is caught but again breaks free, only to be recaptured again at the finale. Interesting subplot has Conrad waiting for Sullivan to make a wrong move so he can grab his job."[4]

Noir analysis[edit]

Critics Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, in various sections of their analysis of the film, discuss a sub silentio theme found in the movie: the homosexual undercurrent of the protagonists; they write, "After an initial scene, in which Sullivan and Gassman wrestle each other to exhaustion and then sit sharing cigarettes like brothers," and, "...even in his sleep [Sullivan] is obsessive as he dreams of the escapee in homoerotic terms," and, "Gassman too seems drawn to his pursuer."[5]

Film critic Eddie Muller, in an interview for Bright Lights Film Journal, agrees, "I once showed this goofy B film called Cry of the Hunted, with Barry Sullivan and William Conrad — it's swamp noir. In Los Angeles, the audience adored it. They howled, especially at the over-the-top gay subtext between the two lead actors. They fight, and when it's obvious the fight is over, they're still wrestling around the floor. Then they lie against the wall and smoke cigarettes. The L.A. audience ate it up."[6]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Cry of the Hunted at IMDb.
  3. ^ Erickson, Hal Cry of the Hunted at AllMovie. Last accessed: February 17, 2011.
  4. ^ TV Guide web site. Last accessed: November 16, 2023.
  5. ^ Silver, Alain, and Elizabeth Ward, eds. Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, film noir analysis by Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, page 390, 3rd edition, 1992. New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-479-5.
  6. ^ Sorrento, Matthew. Bright Lights Film Journal, "A Writer's Evolution: An Interview with Eddie Muller," Issue 68, May 2010. Last accessed: February 17, 2011.

External links[edit]