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.
I Wake Up Screaming (1941) 720p YIFY Movie
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
I Wake Up Screaming is a movie starring Betty Grable, Victor Mature, and Carole Landis. Why is Inspector Ed Cornell trying to railroad Frankie Christopher for the murder of model Vicky Lynn?
IMDB: 7.23 Likes
The Synopsis for I Wake Up Screaming (1941) 720p
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...
The Director and Players for I Wake Up Screaming (1941) 720p
The Reviews for I Wake Up Screaming (1941) 720p
nifty sleeperReviewed bytelegonusVote: 8/10
As it originally emerged, Film Noir was as glossy as it was tough, a genre photographed in a remarkable visual style of light and shadow and offering cynical and often witty tales of slick anti-heroes and dangerous dames--and films like THE MALTESE FALCON, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, MILDRED PIERCE, THE BLUE DAHLIA, and DOUBLE INDEMNITY remain great classics of their kind. At the same time, however, 20th Century Fox was releasing a stream of "pulp" crime dramas. Often overlooked or flatly dismissed by critics, they would pave the way for the shift in Noir style that came in 1948 with the "true crime," gritty style of NAKED CITY.
The first of these 20th Century Fox films, based on a novel by Steve Fisher, was I WAKE UP SCREAMING. Jill and Vicky Lynn (Betty Grable and Carole Landis) are two sisters living in New York; Vicky is working as a waitress when she is noticed by promoter Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature), who is soon convinced he can turn her into a star. But Vicky proves perfidious: once success is within her grasp she drops Frankie to pursue a career in Hollywood. Her career never comes to pass: she is found dead in her apartment, Frankie standing over her. And police inspector Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar) makes it clear that he intends to nail Frankie for Vicky's murder.
Although the dialogue is clunky, the film structure is intriguing, often telling the story through flashbacks in a way upon the 1944 LAURA would improve. But the real power of the film is the sharp edge with which director H. Bruce Humberstone endows the film--and the truly memorable photography by Edward Cronjager, a truly gifted cinematographer who would receive no fewer than seven Oscar nominations during his long career. And then there are two powerhouse performances that drive the film: Carole Landis and Laird Cregar.
Originally from Wisconsin, Carole Landis began her career playing bit parts in such films as A DAY AT THE RACES--but in 1940 she had a major breakthrough in the film ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. In hindsight, it is obvious that Landis was a competent if slightly limited actress; at the time, however, she was generally dismissed by critics as just another pretty girl without significant talents. In a very real sense, I WAKE UP SCREAMING would be the high-water mark of her career; she was thereafter generally overlooked by the studio and often miscast. By 1948 her career was over, and she took her own life.
Laird Cregar, however, was a different matter, immediately recognized for his gifts. But Cregar was an extremely large man, weighing in at 300 pounds. It was a fact that limited his career, and although he appeared to tremendous effect in such films as THIS GUN FOR HIRE, HEAVEN CAN WAIT, and the exceptional THE LODGER, leading man status eluded him. Determined to cross the line, Cregar went on a crash diet and dropped over 100 pounds. It got him the lead in HANGOVER SQUARE, which many regard as his best film--but it also strained his health to the breaking point, and he died of heart failure in 1945.
In spite of its innovations, the fiery performances of Landis and Cregar, and an unexpected plot twist that can still drop jaws today, I WAKE UP SCREAMING is a slightly awkward film, largely due to the flippant nature of its dialogue and the "goody goody" quality of the role assigned to Betty Grable, who reads here as somewhat saccharine. Nonetheless, this is a film that fans of Film Noir cannot afford to miss, for it points the way to the new style. The quality of the picture is a bit hit and miss, but the DVD has a surprising number of bonuses--including a memorable audio commentary by film historian Eddie Muller. In comparison to such contemporary films as THE MALTESE FALCON and the slightly later LAURA, it is pretty mild stuff--but the film has a historical importance in terms of the Noir movement, and fans of the genre will find it indispensable. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
Now this was a really excellent film noir movie released in the early Forties - "I Wake Up Screaming" or "Hot Spot" as it was called in some countries held the interest all the way through, and the surprising performance in my book, came from Betty Grable - not that she had to do a hard acting job, but having been very much a musical comedy-type this was a most off-beat role for her. The real stars were Laird Cregar and the Music -both were brilliant adding so much to the suspense and drama. There were the usual support actors like Allyn Joslin, Elisha Cook Jnr. and William Gargan who all added to the enjoyment of a fine who-dunnit. A good movie to revisit.