I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  31 October 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,538 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 27 critic

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


(as Bruce Humberstone)


(screen play), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Laird Cregar ...
William Gargan ...
Cyril Ring ...
Morris Ankrum ...
Assistant District Attorney
Frank Orth ...
Cemetery Caretaker
Gregory Gaye ...
May Beatty ...
Lady Handel (as Mae Beatty)


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


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Release Date:

31 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hot Spot  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Two famous melodies are heard in the Cyril J. Mockridge background score: "Over the Rainbow" (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics, not sung here, by E.Y. Harburg) from The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Alfred Newman's theme from Street Scene (1931). See more »


During the nightclub scene, Frankie removes a price tag from Vicky's glove that wasn't in previous shots. See more »


Ed Cornell: I've got a good mind to kill you myself right now.
See more »


Street Scene
Music by Alfred Newman
Played over main titles, then heard as background music throughout the movie
See more »

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User Reviews

nifty sleeper
2 April 2001 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

I Wake Up Screaming is an odd and oddly satisfying film. It is in the noir mold but it's a little earlier than most. The studio that made it was not noted for making thrillers, and the stars,--Victor Mature, Betty Grable and Carole Landis--were not the types one would expect to find in this sort of dark movie. Yet it is fun from the start to finish, and at times creepy, thanks mostly to the presence of Laird Cregar as a cop determined to nail Mature for the murder of a heartless showgirl that he, Cregar, was himself infatuated with. The studio New York of the film is much less intimidating than one might expect in a mystery, and overall the tone is bright and bouncy,--call it noir light. But it's Mr. Cregar who makes the film work. He dominates the picture as soon as he enters it with an authority and sense of himself that most actors would kill for. Cregar was, in short, a genius. The supporting cast, which includes Allyn Joslyn and Alan Mowbray, make the best of their lines, which are often quite witty, and the script is, overall, far better than average.

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