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I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  31 October 1941 (USA)
7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,442 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 27 critic

Why is Inspector Ed Cornell trying to railroad Frankie Christopher for the murder of model Vicky Lynn?

Director:

(as Bruce Humberstone)

Writers:

(screen play), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Laird Cregar ...
William Gargan ...
...
Allyn Joslyn ...
...
...
Reporter
Cyril Ring ...
Reporter
Morris Ankrum ...
Assistant District Attorney
...
Keating--Florist
Frank Orth ...
Cemetery Caretaker
Gregory Gaye ...
Headwaiter
May Beatty ...
Lady Handel (as Mae Beatty)
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Storyline

Promoter Frankie Christopher, being grilled by police in the murder of model Vicky Lynn, recalls in flashback: First meeting her as a waitress, Frankie decides to parlay her beauty into social acceptance and a lucrative career. He succeeds only too well: she's on the eve of deserting him for Hollywood...when someone kills her. Now Frankie gets the feeling that Inspector Ed Cornell is determined to pin the killing on him and only him. He's right. And the only one he can turn to for help is Jill, the victim's sister, who's been cool toward him... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hot Spot  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Daddy" (music and lyrics by Bobby Troup), plugged by Betty Grable in a store's music department, was cut from the film so that Twentieth Century-Fox could showcase Miss Grable in a fully dramatic role. The shooting script had Betty working as a stenographer instead of plugging songs. As her sole musical moment, Miss Grable hummed a bit of the Tchaikovsky-based ballad, "The Things I Love" (music and lyrics by Harold Barlow and Lewis Harris), during a car ride with Victor Mature and Carole Landis. Most of the ditty would be sung by Miss Landis later in the movie. Footage of Miss Grable performing "Daddy" still exists. See more »

Goofs

When Cornell asks Christopher for a lift he tells him to drop him at 58th and Madison.The car pulls up in front of brownstone apartments. There are only stores on 58th and Madison in NYC, no brownstones. See more »

Quotes

Ed Cornell: When I get all my evidence together, I'm gonna have you tied up like a pig in a slaughterhouse.
See more »

Connections

Version of Vicki (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Daddy
Music and lyrics by Bobby Troup
Deleted scene, sung by Betty Grable. Included in Extras section of dvd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Story of obsession, murder key movie in developing noir cycle
31 March 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

WWII pin-up gal Betty Grable took her first dramatic part as the sister of a murdered model in Bruce Humberstone's I Wake Up Screaming, based on a serialized novel by Steve Fisher. It sounds like second billing, but the victim's role – as coffee-shop hostess turned toast of Manhattan Vicky Lynn – remains curiously understated (and played by Carole Landis).

Landis is discovered by publicist Victor Mature and falls under his benevolent spell, which launches her onto magazine covers and ultimately to a Hollywood contract. She proves ungrateful and winds up strangled. Mature, among other suspects, comes under the scrutiny of the police, particularly of a dogged detective whose interest in the case borders on the obsessive. Portrayed by the immense but oddly vulnerable Laird Cregar, the detective becomes Mature's nemesis (in one scene, Mature wakes up to find Cregar watching him, hoping he'll incriminate himself by talking in his sleep). Cregar's ominous bulk makes for a number of looming shadows skulking through nighttime New York.

I Wake Up Screaming, which appeared very early in the noir cycle, certainly displays the dark look and fragmented structure of its successors, but its tone remains ambiguous. Basically, it's a high-style, `sophisticated' murder mystery, a precursor to the more famous and accomplished Laura. But, unlike Laura, it found many of the implications of the story perhaps too grim for wartime audiences – the theme of obsession gets played down, for instance. But it's a key work in the developing noir cycle, released the same year as Johnny Eager, The Glass Key and This Gun For Hire.

Eleven years later, the releasing studio, 20th Century Fox, remade the film as Vicki. Though changes for the most part were minimal, the title role was enlarged (and taken by Jean Peters) while Mature's part was weakened by routine casting. The most interesting change was engaging the young Richard Boone for the Cregar part, who delivers a more brutal portrayal and thus underscores the theme of sexual obsession. It could be argued that the remake, despite lapses in casting and direction, remains the more intriguing version.


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