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I Wake Up Screaming
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I Wake Up Screaming More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I Wake Up Screaming (1941) **1/2

Author: JoeKarlosi from U.S.A.
27 October 2007

A friend of mine brought this film noir to the house last night because he knows I loved watching Laird Cregar recently in both THE LODGER and HANGOVER SQUARE. I didn't think that much of I WAKE UP SCREAMING, though... it was better than average and I thought Cregar was good, but the story seemed like a clichéd cookie cutter affair, even the characters. I enjoyed watching Victor Mature in something other than biblical films for a change and felt he fit nicely into the role of Frankie. Unfortunately, Betty Grable failed to impress me here in what I think might be the first movie I know I've seen her in. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention -- the over-reliance on the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" tune every time Mature and Grable were on screen was really silly. **1/2 out of ****

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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Lots of screaming, but not much suspense...

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
5 September 2005

Perhaps this relentlessly straight-faced murder mystery looked like a tough noir once upon a time, but today it seems a shopworn, clichéd piece of formula goods, melodramatic camp. Betty Grable is interrogated by the police after her sister turns up dead; Victor Mature snarls and pouts as Betty's love-interest. There's a terrific closing scene, some colorful dialogue, but the plot is just a gimmick, with flashbacks used to pad the running time. Cheesy background score includes the refrain to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" played ad nauseum. Movie magazine pulp looks pretty good in shadowy black-and-white, but peddles its sordid themes too softly. Remade as "Vicki" in 1953. ** from ****

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
16 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Betty Grable as the heroine has that cream-fed complexion and chirrupy optimism of the American Midwest. She doesn't really belong in what purports to be a film noir. Well, it isn't a film noir anyway, exactly. It's a murder mystery set in the kind of uptrodden Manhattan milieu in which people like Alan Mowbray as an aging ham hang out, drinking champagne, smoking endless cigarettes, and making urbane wisecracks.

The non-noir elements, the film blanc elements, so to speak, create the kind of environment that suits Betty Grable well. The women are in cocktail dresses and the men in tuxedos adorned with carnations, like a Fred Astaire movie, or like the one she made with Astaire years earlier, "The Gay Divorcée."

The angles are sometimes crooked and tilted, though, and the lighting does at times cast strange shadows from oddly placed lights -- chicken-wire cages, venetian blinds. But the characters, for the most part, belong to an old, familiar genre. Victor Mature is breezy in double-breasted suits and triple-breasted grins. The police who are hunting the killer of Betty Grable's sister are nasty but not rough. Mature, being grilled as a suspect in the murder, insults them and gets away with it, without his head being turned to squash.

The only truly noir figure in the film is Laird Cregar, almost always shot from below, the lighting emphasizing his porcine features. He's sinister in a way no one else in the film is. And that voice! Insinuating, soft but rapacious. Towards the end of the film, you're convinced he's going to be the murderer, but no -- the solution to the mystery is shrugged off in a few seconds and lands instead on the shoulders of poor Elisha Cook, Jr., a creepy mouse. Not that the bulky and threatening Cregar is let off the hook entirely. He turns out to be what we would now call a fetishist. I won't describe the details but he puts an end to his self loathing in a way that turns him very neatly from uncovered villain to pathetic nobody.

Summing it up, a kind of upscale murder drama shot with the noir techniques that were to become so common in films over the next fifteen years or so. This was 1941. The unquiet lighting and camera angles are there but they hadn't found the right property yet.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great film noir but why Over the Rainbow?

Author: Filmclipper from Indiana
4 April 2007

The title is way off, but I agree with those who say this is great film noir. I like it for its light touches of sophisticated humor. It is a treat to see Laird Cregar in the same frame with Betty Grable. The soundtrack is interesting and impressive, too, and I very much enjoyed hearing "These Are the Things I Love," which was a pretty popular big band tune of the time. Like others, I wondered why "Over the Rainbow" was chosen as the love theme between Victor Mature and Betty Grable. It is so familiar to us now that all we can think about is "The Wizard of Oz." The only answer is that it must not have been that familiar in 1941. As I understand it, "Oz" was not a huge success on its first release. Could it be that "Over the Rainbow" was not yet ingrained into everyone's memory bank? At any rate, I enjoyed hearing it in its various arrangements in the background of this fine period piece.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good mystery Moir

Author: Prof-Hieronymos-Grost from Ireland
20 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Vicky Lynn(Carole Landis) is a beautiful wannabee who while working as a waitress is discovered by sports promoter Frankie Christopher(Victor Mature) who gives her a promise of a life of celebrity,and after he fulfills his promise, Vicky throws it back in his face by saying she is off to Hollywood after arranging her own future with a big time film producer. Vicky is then found murdered(not a real spoiler BTW) and Christopher is pulled in by the cops as their main suspect and the film is told in flashback through the police interview process with Christopher and Vicky's sister Jill(Betty Grable) being the main interviewees. Laird Cregar is excellent as the sinister hard nosed cop Ed Cornell intent at any cost of convicting Christopher.Good solid mystery Noir that will keep you guessing up until the end

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Solid Screaming.

Author: Psalm 52 from United States
8 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Beyond the excellent acting and direction, the best quality this film offers is the solid professional writing which abounds with crisp, vivid dialog for all the characters and a very plausible twist at the end. The production design, costumes, and sets are all additional factors that add to this movie's "film noir." Among the actors: Mature is believable as the wrongly accused murderer, Landis shines as the glamor girl w/ unrealized ambitious dreams, Grable is effective as Landis' concerned "garden variety" sister, Cregar is the epitome of evil authority run amok, Gargan and Mowbray offer credible support as two of Landis' many suitors, and finally Elisha Cook, Jr. in a small, but pivotal role really that gives the murder story that 40's pedigree to make it a classic. Cook can be found in a slew of great 40's crime films and it's a welcome surprise to find him cast in this one!

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The ending might surprise you

Author: rodman-2 ( from chicago illinois
3 August 1998

I've seen a lot of old movies this has to rank in my top 50 of all time that might seem like it's kind of low but believe me I've seen a lot of old movies and this one I must say surprised me because of the totally different acting styles of the actors and actresses.

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4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: whpratt1 from United States
26 April 2000

Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Carole Landis, Laird Cregar and Elisha Cook Jr., are all legends, who made this film a living classic, which will live on and on for generations and generations to come. It depicts New York City landmarks and how New York was in the 1940's. I have seen this picture over and over, and I enjoy it like I have seen it for the first time.

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5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Just kind of dull

Author: jimkis-1 from Indiana
24 September 2006

The title is the most exciting part of this film, and it is a misnomer. It leads one to believe this may be a psychological mystery, but it is actually a pretty run-of-the-mill mystery with Betty Grable woefully miscast. She was good at dancing, not so good at acting. Victor Mature turns in a decent performance, and Laird Cregar chews the scenery as usual. The ending is supposed to be kind of a twist but it doesn't really work and seems rather contrived as most mysteries are. This may be classified as a noir film due to the camera work and obsessiveness of Cregar's character, but it is a very minor film and lacks any real substance. But in 1941, this kind of mindless fluff passed as entertainment and at least the actors were good-looking.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

nice little noir but...

Author: brtor222 from Canada
12 January 2013

How many millions did Fox pay MGM to use Over the Rainbow throughout this film without being sued??? It used way too much and overkills it. And it doesn't even fit with the movie anyway. Also overused is the Street Scene music--it seemed to play everywhere--the apartment scenes, nightclubs,on the streets. And neither Harold Arlen nor Alfred Newman (the composers of each) are even mentioned in the opening credits. I guess back then studios didn't have to legally give credit for using music from other sources? The other thing I didn't get about this is the title (later to be simply Vicki). Who wakes up screaming in this?? A better title might have been "A View to A Frame Up" or "How to Marry A Fight Promoter". ;-) I like both the leads in this, although Mature does grimace too much, which he seemed to do in all his roles. And Grable gets to wear a nice swimming costume, however briefly. I loved the seedy scenes where the two leads hide out in the 24 hour porn cinema watching something called "Flames of Passion"!! And the cop who yells to Grable, to put her shoes back on. At least that was all she had taken off in that place! Fox Noirs always have a slick polished look to them, and loved the lighting in this one. For an early noir, it has all the elements.

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