» » A Cry in the Wilderness (1974)

A Cry in the Wilderness (1974) Online

A Cry in the Wilderness (1974) Online
Original Title :
A Cry in the Wilderness
Genre :
Movie / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Gordon Hessler
Cast :
George Kennedy,Joanna Pettet,Lee Montgomery
Writer :
Stephen Karpf,Elinor Karpf
Type :
Time :
1h 14min
Rating :
A Cry in the Wilderness (1974) Online

The father of a wilderness family gets bitten by a skunk, and fearing rabies, chains himself to a barn to protect his family should he go mad. He orders his son not to come near him no matter how persuasive or rational his appearance or argument. However, the creek dries up, indicating an upstream blockage and an imminent flood. Several trips upstream by the son have failed to locate the blockage, and now Dad wants to be released. {locallinks-homepage}
Cast overview:
George Kennedy George Kennedy - Sam Hadley
Joanna Pettet Joanna Pettet - Delda Hadley
Lee Montgomery Lee Montgomery - Gus Hadley (as Lee H. Montgomery)
Collin Wilcox Paxton Collin Wilcox Paxton - Bess Millard (as Collin Wilcox-Horne)
Roy Poole Roy Poole - Rex Millard
Liam Dunn Liam Dunn - Mr. Hainie
Bing Russell Bing Russell - Mr. Griffey
Irene Tedrow Irene Tedrow - Old Woman
Anne Seymour Anne Seymour - Sam's Grandmother
Bob Hoy Bob Hoy - 1st Man
Robert Brubaker Robert Brubaker - Doctor
Paul Sorensen Paul Sorensen - Sam's Father
Troy Melton Troy Melton - 2nd Man

User reviews



Long before the scourges of terrorism, AIDS, etc commandeered the headlines and ruled our fears, plagues and pestilence, floods and fires, criminals trying to break into our houses, and perverts trying to steal our kids were our common shared nightmares. Back in 1974, life was simple. Feeding on the fear of contracting rabies, with the accompanying painful regimen of antidote doses administered by needles as large as telephone poles, the story is of a young boy's test of devotion to his father's instruction, weighed against his angst of losing his father when only he can save him - but should he risk saving him??? A compelling story, especially for its time.


On his isolated farm in the wilderness, Sam Hadley (played by George Kennedy) has an unfortunate run-in with a rabid skunk. How Sam and his wife handle the situation is the basis for the story, which is totally not convincing. Sam reacts in ways that defy logic or common sense. Plot devices include hallucinations, a coincidental flood, and menacing hillbillies.

The acting is not bad, but the actors have nothing to work with. The story's premise, in my opinion, is not credible. It relies too much on coincidental timing, improbable behavior, hokey characters, and a predictable outcome. Indeed, without the skunk, there would be no story at all.

The DVD version of this film is 74 minutes, but it seemed more like two hours. I don't wish to be unkind, but the film seemed to me to be a cross between a bad episode of "Green Acres" and a poor remake of the movie "Deliverance". A more interesting film might have resulted if the story had been told from the POV of the skunk. How did the skunk react to the encounter? Was the skunk traumatized? Did the skunk suffer nightmares? What did the skunk learn, and so on.

I'm not clear why "A Cry In The Wilderness" was even made. I suppose when the film aired in 1974, it "might" have had some value as an after school special for kids. But thirty years later, it's barely a cinematic footnote.


I'm biased , I was born in Feb. 18th same as George. He reminded me of my dad in many ways, big burly take no BS family first man. I saw this on tv when it came out in a 23" colored rca counsel tv.

The film has many flaws but there is no special effects or computer generated garbage that today's audiences deem as the norm. It's a simple story but many miss the message. That message is each of 3 members of a family are given hard choices. What direction do you take, which fork in the road. Ironically this is cleverly implied in the dialogue. Don't go Left stay to the right .

The father thinks he's in danger but convinced his family he's sick and don't trust him. The son is told to not believe him and his fear of water is part of the sickness. When the dad tells the son of the crik and the flood he is torn between what he was told and the what his dad is telling him at present. His dad starts acting irrational and disturbed which he warned the son might be part of his symptoms.

The city wife going for help runs into locals who are far from helpful or honest , borderline criminal in some instances. She endures these savory types and survives to get help for her sick husband. She's out of place and out of time and at one point is pushed to her emotional breaking point .

The ending is what you'd expect from a low budget film. It's campy and dated but you're going back 45 years in time and it's a trip us baby boomers don't mind taking.


Although not a great or particularly special movie, I'm still very ecstatic that I was able to watch "A Cry in the Wilderness". American TV-movies from the 1970's are quite difficult to find here in Europe and I absolutely wanted to see it because I'm a big fan of both lead actor George Kennedy and director Gordon Hessler. It's unnecessary to say that the film is quite flawed... More than half of the screenplay doesn't make sense and the characters do the dumbest things, but at least it's never boring (the film also only lasts barely 75 minutes) and benefices from beautiful locations. Just over one month ago, family man Sam Hedley moved with his foxy wife Delda (way too foxy for him, in fact, check out her bum) and 12-year-old son Gus from busy Chicago to an isolated farm somewhere in Oregon's middle of nowhere. Whilst working on his land, Sam gets bitten by an aggressive little skunk. Two weeks later he reads a medical book in bed and suddenly realizes the skunk was rabid and that the bite gave him rabies. And so Sam immediately does what every other loving family man would do: he chains himself in the bar and draws a forbidden entrance circle on the ground. Sam sends out his wife to seek help in a ramshackle truck and in a god-forsaken area that she doesn't know (always a great idea) and instructs his son not to obey his commands to let him loose. But later that day there suddenly is the threat of an all-destructive flood, and Sam begs Gus to break the chain so that they can evacuate the farm. Now the loyal little boy doesn't know what orders to obey anymore… One thing's for sure, "A Cry in the Wilderness" certainly doesn't promote life in the American countryside! During her desperate journey, poor Delda only encounters crazy old people, perverted hillbillies and extremely unhelpful neighbors. Furthermore there are several unintentionally hilarious and implausible sequences, including a vicious skunk-attack hallucination and Sam's bizarre childhood flashback shot in black and white. But, as said, the film is moderately entertaining and compelling enough as long as you're in an undemanding mood. George Kennedy is a hard-working and unpretentious actor who starred in massively budgeted blockbusters as well as in cheap B- movies or TV-productions. He depicts his character here with the same amount of devotion that he did for "Cool Hand Luke" or "Airport", for example. Gordon Hessler has always been a sadly underrated but extremely skillful director in the horror genre. He started out with a handful of very ambitious fright-tales, like "The Oblong Box" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue", but then from the seventies onwards specialized in less notable TV- work.


Although the '70s produced a number of made-for-TV movies, many considered classics now, surprisingly very few have been released on DVD. "A Cry In The Wilderness" was probably released on DVD because it contains Oscar-winner (and cult star) George Kennedy.

Is this a made-for-TV classic? No. To be fair, there are some good things about it. Kennedy gives a good performance, coming across as very likable and one you hope makes it through his challenge. As his son, child star Lee H. Montgomery gives a believable performance. The movie also makes you wonder if the protagonists will make it through their various challenges, even despite the fact that you probably know already how stories like this usually end.

But there are also some negative things about the movie. Though it's supposed to be taking place in Oregon, it sure looks like southern California. Also, while the movie runs a lean 74 minutes, it is significantly padded, mostly with scenes involving Kennedy's wife. There are some dumb things, like when Kennedy chains himself up and waits several hours for his family to discover him instead of telling them right away. There are laughable things, like how Kennedy's sweat stains keep changing, two hilarious skunk attacks, and Kennedy's stunt double looking nothing like him in the climatic sequence.

Bottom line: It didn't deserve a DVD release, and it's not worth spending money to rent it... but if it comes across as originally planned - free TV - it may help to pass 74 minutes of your time.