Cry Uncle


1h 27m 1971

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
Jun 1971
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 22 Dec 1971
Production Company
Cry Uncle Company
Distribution Company
Cambist Films
Country
United States
Location
New York, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Lie a Little, Die a Little by Michael Brett (New York, 1968).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

In New York, loutish private investigator Jake Masters is intimately invovled with his girl friend Renee when his teenaged nephew Keith calls to report that millionaire Jason Dominic wants to hire him. For $5,000, Dominic instructs Jake to meet a redhead named Cora Merrill at La Guardia airport in an hour. Promising to see Renee when she returns from her trip, Jake races to the airport, where he reads in the newspaper that Dominic is wanted for the murder of prostitute Lucille Reynolds. Thinking she is Cora, Jake approaches a redheaded Russian woman, but her screams alert the airport police. He attempts to explain his presence there to the police, but they do not believe him and soon confirm that no Cora Merrill is listed on the incoming flights. Finally, Keith arrives with Cora, who says she missed her flight. Her beauty distracts the policemen into releasing Jake, and the three go to the Brooklyn harbor, where Dominic is "hiding" on his gigantic yacht. Although Jake wants to shield Keith from danger, Cora insists that he accompany them onto the ship. Dominic is thrilled to see Cora and commands Keith to caress her, then orders Jake to find the real killer of Lucille. The prostitute had been blackmailing Dominic for $50,000, with footage of the millionaire in compromising sexual situations with Connie Landfield, Lena Wright and Olga Winter. Dominic refuses to give Jake the footage until Keith shows the older man how he can scratch out the image of his face so he cannot be identified. After informing Jake of the names of Larry Caulk, who is Lucille's ex-boyfriend, and Gene Sprigg, the man Dominic hired to beat up Larry, Dominic orders him off the boat. Cora casually requests to stay at Jake's apartment, and once there, strips to shower, describing her agreement with Dominic to have sexual relations with him for a monthly stipend. When Jake tries to join Cora in the shower, however, she berates him for being sexist. That night, when Keith arrives with the photographs he has made from Dominic's negative, Cora seduces the boy while Jake sleeps. The next day, Jake and Cora go to Sprigg's hotel, where Cora pushes Jake aside and threatens the man with her pistol until he reveals that Olga will be able to lead them to Caulk. After they leave, Jake reenters to apologize to Sprigg and give him some cash. In the park, he chastises Cora for being unprofessional, while she considers him weak. Jake leaves to look for Olga, and soon finds the prostitute on the street. He hires her, ties her to the bed and then questions her about Caulk, thus discovering where Caulk may be hiding. Back home, Jake finds Cora in bed with Keith, and after reassuring his nephew that he is not angry, takes him to Caulk's motel, insisting that Cora, whom Keith still calls "Miss Merrill," remain behind. At Caulk's motel, Jake bribes an employee to show them the correct room, and instructs Keith to call the police if he does not come out in five minutes. Inside, Lena and Connie, naked, invite him to join them, but Caulk soon sneaks in from the bathroom and knocks Jake out. Meanwhile, in nearby rooms several hippies take LSD, while an older man pays a male prostitute to play out his masochistic fantasies. While Caulk and the women try to torture and seduce Jake into revealing for whom he works, outside someone chloroforms Keith. Suddenly, a shot rings out, and all of the motel guests pour out into the parking lot in various states of undress. Jake escapes from the room, revives Keith and drives off before the police arrive. At his apartment, Cora nurses his wounded knee and claims to have been frightened by a horror movie she was watching on television. In the morning, as Jake is cooking breakfast for Cora, they see on the television news report that the old man at the motel is a high-ranking administration secretary, who has stated to the press that his deep religious faith kept him safe from the shooting. Jake leaves to investigate Connie, whom he finds passed out in her hotel room. Not realizing she is dead, he unloads her gun, then attempts to be intimate with her. He is interrupted, however, by Lena, who fires her gun into the room. Jake chases Lena outside, where the same Russian from the airport once again accuses him of attacking her, resulting in Jake's arrest. He is eventually able to convince the police to give him forty-eight hours to trap the killer, and heads to a nearby bar, where he learns that the horror movie Cora claimed to have watched the night before had been preempted. Realizing that Cora is the killer and was at the motel, he returns home and unloads her gun. As the police, who have been alerted by Jake, ineptly eavesdrop from the apartment next door, Jake confronts Cora, stating that she was never on the plane to La Guardia and so could have been in town when Lucille was murdered. When he insists on running a ballistics test on her gun, Cora confesses and urges Jake to run away with her. As soon as he turns, however, she grabs her gun and shoots, not realizing that it has no bullets. Cora first begs for mercy, then grabs another gun and, aiming it at Jake's head, commands him to service her before she kills him. Jake calls out to the police, who shoot through the door, killing Cora. Later, Jake meets Keith in a bar, but the love-stricken young man refuses to talk to him. Jake returns home, where he is thrilled to find Renee waiting in his bed.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
Jun 1971
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 22 Dec 1971
Production Company
Cry Uncle Company
Distribution Company
Cambist Films
Country
United States
Location
New York, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Lie a Little, Die a Little by Michael Brett (New York, 1968).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The ending cast credits are listed in order of appearance, while the opening cast begin with an image of Allen Garfield and the words "Jake Masters, Private Detective." Although the onscreen credits include a 1970 copyright statement for Cry Uncle Company, the film was not registered at the time of its release. The same company reregistered the picture on March 27, 1985 under the number PA-282-245. The credits for haistylist and assistant director were illegible on the print viewed. The closing credits include various "special thanks," including to the City of New York and Northwest Airlines.
       The film begins with voice-over narration by actor Jackson Beck introducing "Jake Masters." The narration does not return until near the end of the film, during the scenes in which Jake finds "Connie Landfield" and after he is arrested, when the narrator describes Jake's "rapier mind" as he is shown napping in the police station. In the scene in which Jake is with the dead Connie, his thoughts are heard as a voice-over monologue. A running gag involves the insistence of many characters on spelling the last names of other characters. Several references are made in the picture to other features, including Gone With the Wind (1938), Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935, and below).
       In August 1970, New York Times reported that Cambist Films, headed by Lee Hessel, was financing Cry Uncle for $200,000. The film was shot in New York, as noted in the onscreen credits and reviews. A press release stated that the "regular version" of the film ran for 87 minutes, which was the time cited in contemporary reviews, and that there was a "cool version" that ran for 85 minutes. No further information has been found to indicate which two minutes were cut. A modern source adds crew members David Odell, Al Sentesy and Steven Tisch, who later became a prominent film producer, to the cast of the motel scenes.
       Cry Uncle was rated X at the time of its release, but as confirmed by MPAA records, the rating was changed to R in 1973. According to a December 1980 Variety article, Troma Films re-released a new version of the picture that had been "scissored" to receive the less severe R rating. Although the re-release version was the print viewed, it ran for 87 minutes, the same running time as the 1971 release. Cry Uncle also was released in England under the title Super Dick, at a running time of 77 minutes.
       Reviews were mostly favorable, with critics generally noting the crudeness of the material but appreciative of the humor. In March 1972, as noted in a Variety article, a Knoxville, TN theater owner was charged with contempt of Tennessee obsenity laws for screening the film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1970

Released in United States 1970