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Screaming Mimi (1958)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 300 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 15 critic

Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Virginia Wilson / Yolanda Lange
...
Bill Sweeney
...
Joann 'Gypsy' Masters
Harry Townes ...
Dr. Greenwood / Bill Green
Linda Cherney ...
Ketti
Romney Brent ...
Charlie Weston
Red Norvo ...
Red Yost
Red Norvo Trio ...
Themselves
Alan Gifford ...
Capt. Bline
Oliver McGowan ...
Walter Krieg
Stephen Ellsworth ...
Dr. Joseph Robinson
...
Raoul Reynarde
Frank J. Scannell ...
Paul, the Bartender
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Storyline

Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and takes over her life, although she insists on continuing her career at the El Madhouse nightclub. The club's tough owner is none other than Gypsy Rose Lee who plays 'Gypsy' and sings an incredibly bad song ("Put the Blame on Mame") when Virginia is late one night. The traumatized Virginia is suspected of a series of murders. Each victim had purchased a contorted sculpture of a woman called the Screaming Mimi, which was created by her step-brother Charlie who was also responsible for shooting her attacker. It's up to a handsome columnist Bill Sweeny to figure it all out. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The strip-tease murder case! See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 August 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

La locura de Mimí  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A large part of the score, including the main title theme, is from Leonard Bernstein's score to On the Waterfront (1954). See more »

Quotes

Bill Sweeney: How tall are you, Yolanda?
Virginia Wilson aka Yolanda Lange: With heels or without?
Bill Sweeney: With anyone. Me, for instance.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Last Action Hero (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Put the Blame on Mame
(uncredited)
Written by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Sung by Gypsy Rose Lee
See more »

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User Reviews

Hitchcock could have done it better.
12 June 2004 | by (Houston, Texas) – See all my reviews

This is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the 1949 novel by Fredric Brown. Reasonably, that is, by 1950s Hollywood standards -- all of the essential story elements are there, although most of the subtleties of the novel are missing. For instance, Sweeney the reporter (Philip Carey) spends most of the novel in a constant hangover, having just come off a drunken binge; and the true relationship between Yolanda (Anita Eckberg) and Greene (Harry Townes), made explicit in the film's opening scenes, isn't revealed until the end of the novel. This is largely because the film presents the story in a straightforward, linear fashion, whereas in the novel, such vital information comes out gradually, via Sweeney's investigations. The film also, understandably, tones down the more lewd elements of the novel: Yolanda's strip-tease becomes merely an exotic dance.

I can't help wondering what Alfred Hitchcock would have done with this story. Hitchcock was certainly familiar with Brown's work -- four of his stories were adapted for the TV series ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS ("The Cream of the Jest", "The Night the World Ended", "The Dangerous People", and "Human Interest Story"). If Hitchcock had directed THE SCREAMING MIMI, it would surely have become a classic on a par with PSYCHO.

As others have commented here, I strongly recommend reading Fredric Brown's original novel. (I re-read it recently, just before seeing the film for the first time.) Brown was a very prolific writer of mystery and science fiction from the 40s through the 60s. (He died in 1972.) He was a master of the short-short story, and of the surprise twist ending. Though most of his works are currently out of print, they can easily be found on eBay or abe.com.

A footnote: The book NIGHTMARE IN DARKNESS, a limited edition of previously uncollected Fredric Brown stories, includes the original, unpublished ending of the novel, in which Sweeney is actually killed by the Ripper.


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