Marjorie Carleton – The good news with Cry Wolf is that Carleton’s main character, Sandra, is ingenious, resourceful, and intrepid: sneaking into a mysterious, locked laboratory building via a dumb waiter in the dark of night; swinging into a hidden room through a broken skylight; scaling a formidably tall, mesh fence by dragging over a heavy tree limb, propping it against the fence, then climbing up to drop down the other side; even playing a mean hand of poker to outfox the suspicious couple surreptitiously confining her “husband”; amongst other feats. Even when she catches herself getting a little sappy over the male lead, who may or may not be the villain of the piece, she has the good sense to poke fun at herself. Yet with all that said, Carleton resorts to that dreadful plot device of having her heroine faint in the final conflict. Cry Wolf is still a good read, though, with lots of plot and character twists. The film version ups the ante by casting the redoubtable Barbara Stanwyck as Sandra and sending her creeping across a steep roof before swinging through the skylight and putting her on a runaway horse rather than having her trip over roots and bounce off a fence when she gets lost in the requisite forbidding woods. Unfortunately, where the book’s questionable male lead shows some genuine humor, compassion, and vulnerability while playing the manly man, the film’s Errol Flynn is just stiff, superior, and unfriendly.
Image, screen shot from Cry Wolf ©1947 WB Pictures