Cry of the Innocent (1980)
Rod Taylor plays Steve Donegan, an American insurance executive, family
man and former Green Beret. The movie, filmed entirely in Ireland, was made
for Irish TV and exported to the U.S.
It's also known as "An Eye for
an Eye" and is based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth, who also penned
"Day of the Jackal" and "The Odessa File."
Here's a description and review from the Boston Globe, June 19, 1980:
Taylor, whose familiar craggy face is more deeply lined
than when he played light romantic comedy, is Steve Donegan, an American
insurance executive stationed in Dublin, married to an Irish national,
with two small children. Joanna Pettet plays the wife briefly, and then as the
wife's look-alike, crusading newspaper reporter Candia Leighton, for most
of the story.
Veteran Irish character actor
Cyril Cusack is Dublin city detective
Tom Moloney [and] Nigel Davenport is suave and sinister as Gray Harrison
Hunt, the ruthless head of the powerful international conglomerate.
Donegan's family perishes when a small plane, sabotaged
by Hunt's paid assassins, crashes into their seaside vacation cottage.
The plane, carrying plans for a new industrial pharmacological process
developed by a Hunt competitor, explodes prematurely, accidentally wiping
out the Donegans.
The briefcase containing the formula survives the crash
and fire and becomes the crux of the mystery, as first the other company,
then the police, and finally Hunt attempts to get it away from Donegan.
He launches his own probe, driven by vengeance, aided by Pettet and in
a sporadic affiliation with Cusack.
Like "Jackal" and "Odessa," "Innocent"
begins slowly, almost leisurely, and builds to a crackling denoument with
plenty of wild-and-wooly pyrotechnics. Donegan is an ex-Green Beret and
uses his combat savvy, particularly in explosives and demolition, in derring-do
If there be a fault, it is that the plot wrap-up is a
trifle pat, although with a nifty twist ending.
Morgan O'Sullivan, co-executive producer for the film,
described what its producers tried to do with it.
"We felt there were two themes, two questions here,"
he said. "First, has a man a right to take the law into his own hands,
seek revenge? Second, we ask how guilty is the man at the top of this giant
conglomerate for the crimes committed by subordinates, and how does the
average man bring such a ruthless person to justice?"
Stephen Vagg's book, "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in
Hollywood," tells of how O'Sullivan
selected Rod Taylor for the part. Although the character
of Donegan was American, O'Sullivan "wanted someone who
at least looked European and felt European."
O'Sullivan's wife was a fan of Rod Taylor and suggested
O'Sullivan liked his "European sensibility" and
recalls that Rod was terrific to work with:
He is a lovely guy and can be a
most charming man in a professional and social
setting. We also had great fun making the movie. I
always through Rod was a great star but what made
him special was that he had a wonderful acting
talent. I remember a particularly very touching
scene scene from the movie after he lost his wife
and family -- his expression of grief. Without
dialogue he managed to create a compelling moment. I
always equate him with Richard Burton. To me they
command equal respect as film actors.
Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood,
by Stephen Vagg