Crisis (1950): Richard Brooks’ Directing Debut, Starring Cary Grant and Jose Ferrer

Writer Richard Brooks made his directorial debut in 1950 with Crisis, about an American couple who inadvertently become embroiled in a revolution, based on the short story “The Doubters” by George Tabori.

Cary Grant stars as Dr. Eugene Ferguson, a renowned brain surgeon, who with wife Helen (Paula Raymond) are vacationing in Latin America when a revolution breaks out. They are taken against their will to the country’s dictator, Raoul Farrago (José Ferrer), who needs a life-saving operation.

While Ferguson trains assistants for the delicate operation, he witnesses acts of brutality by the regime, especially by Colonel Adragon (Ramón Novarro), but his professionalism compels him to continue his work and do his best.

Roland Gonzales (Gilbert Roland), the rebel leader, kidnaps Helen to pressure her husband into making a fatal surgical “mistake.” However, his message to Ferguson is intercepted by Isabel Farrago (Signe Hasso), the patient’s wife, and the operation is a success.

Helen is released when Farrago dies and his government is overthrown.

One of Grant’s least known pictures, and one of the few that are overtly political, Crisis failed to impress critics or audiences.

It would take another five years and half a dozen movies for Brooks to get critical attention, when he made the controversial juvenile delinquency drama, Blackboard Jungle, in 1955, starring Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier.

Running time: 95 Minutes

Released: July 7, 1950.