Natalie Wood plays what was touted as her first "grown up" role in the tense melodrama A Cry in the Night. Based loosely on the Caryl Chessman case, the film showcases Raymond Burr as a psycho who stalks and attacks young couples on Lover's Lane. Overpowering Wood's boyfriend, Burr kidnaps the girl and locks her up in a seedy one-room apartment. Though he barely lays a hand on her, Wood has every reason to be terrified of her captor, who has a disturbing habit of brutally killing small animals. Meanwhile, Wood's police-captain father Edmond O'Brien brusquely ignores all manner of civil liberties as he and fellow officer Brian Donlevy turn the town inside out in search of the girl and her abductor. Carol Veazie appears as Burr's blowsy, dominating mother, while Mary Lawrence offers an interesting characterization as Wood's plain-Jane sister, who is jealous of all the attention showered on her missing sibling. Cry in the Night is a surprisingly lively offering from the normally uninspired director Frank Tuttle.
by Hal Erickson synopsis