I Wake up Screaming

( 1 )


Well-known New York sports promoter Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature) is the prime suspect in the murder of Vicky Lynn (Carole Landis), a successful model and would-be actress. Questioned relentlessly by the police, and particularly by hulking detective squad commander Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar), he maintains his innocence. Meanwhile, Vicky's sister Jill (Betty Grable) is also being questioned. Their answers, given in adjoining interrogation rooms, become the basis for brief, neatly constructed interlocking ...
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Well-known New York sports promoter Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature) is the prime suspect in the murder of Vicky Lynn (Carole Landis), a successful model and would-be actress. Questioned relentlessly by the police, and particularly by hulking detective squad commander Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar), he maintains his innocence. Meanwhile, Vicky's sister Jill (Betty Grable) is also being questioned. Their answers, given in adjoining interrogation rooms, become the basis for brief, neatly constructed interlocking flashbacks at the opening of the movie that explain a ton of plot in very little time. Both are released after admitting nothing, and the police begin working on other suspects, including journalist Larry Evans (Allyn Joslyn), aging actor Robin Ray (Alan Mowbray), and hotel clerk William Harrison (Elisha Cook Jr.) Jill had little use for Frankie, the man who had been promoting her sister's career, but the two are drawn together in the course of trying to sort out their lives and the murder of her sister, and her realization that Frankie is capable of truly loving a woman, and not just exploiting her. Meanwhile, Cornell makes it his business to pressure and torment Frankie, illegally entering his apartment and promising him an arrest and a death sentence. Eventually, the noose seems to tighten around Frankie as the circumstantial evidence piles up, until Frankie, trying to clear himself, uncovers a clue leading back to the real killer -- who was known to Cornell all along. Confronting the detective in his apartment, Frankie discovers a veritable shrine to Vicky -- copies of her magazine covers and photos filling the walls of his apartment -- and learns that the man had his own dark reasons for wanting to kill him. His psychosis finally catching up with him, his career and reputation in ruins, Cornell reveals the truth to Frankie as he proceeds to take his own life.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by film noir historian Eddie Muller; "Daddy" deleted scene; Poster gallery; Production stills gallery; Unit photography gallery; Hot Spot opening title treatment & poster gallery; Theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
I Wake Up Screaming is often described as Hollywood's first film noir: the first movie to feature the mix of dark psychology and mystery, not to mention the ominous mood of threat surrounding its protagonists that came to define that category of film. It's also arguably the best movie ever made by its director H. Bruce Humberstone, displaying unexpected elements of dramatic flair and creativity on the part of a director usually known for his straightforward approach to his pictures. The opening sequence is extremely clever, two separate interrogation sequences in adjoining rooms involving the male and female leads (Victor Mature and Betty Grable) which provide flashbacks that quickly bring the audience up to speed, and provides all one needs to know to solve the mystery. The centerpiece of I Wake Up Screaming is the dark motivation behind the sadistic, brutal actions of detective Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar). Without uttering a word, and scarcely even visible during his first five minutes in the action, Cregar's character dominates every scene he is in, and gives I Wake Up Screaming an unhealthy, unsavory tone. Music plays a major role in the structure and content of I Wake Up Screaming -- each of the flashbacks is accompanied by quotations from Alfred Newman's signature tune "Street Scene," variations of which also depict elements of New York life circa 1941; but the movie's principal romantic theme is E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," which was then nothing more than a popular song salvaged from The Wizard of Oz, an unsuccessful MGM release from two years earlier. Viewed in contemporary times, when the song has become a pop culture touchstone, it seems bizarre and even slightly distracting, but the tune does contrast well with the urban grittiness of the Newman piece used elsewhere in the movie. Overall, I Wake Up Screaming represents its maker's best work, Grable's most interesting performance, one of Mature's most complex roles, and a high point for Cregar, as well as being successful and opening the door for a new kind of thriller, drawing audiences into new levels of sophistication in their viewing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/6/2006
  • UPC: 024543244547
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Searchlight
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:22:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,093

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Betty Grable , Jill Lynn
Victor Mature Frankie Christopher, Frankie Christopher (Botticelli)
Carole Landis , Vicky Lynn
Laird Cregar , Ed Cornell
Elisha Cook Jr. Harry Williams
William Gargan , Jerry McDonald
Alan Mowbray , Robin Ray
Allyn Joslyn , Larry Evans
Chick Chandler Reporter
Cyril Ring Reporter
Morris Ankrum Assistant District Attorney
May Beatty Lady Hendel
Brooks Benedict Man
Stanley Blystone
Wade Boteler
Russ Clark Policeman
Stanley Clements
Dorothy Dearing Girl at Table
Eddie Dunn
Ralph Dunn
James Flavin
Gregory Gaye Headwaiter
George Hickman Newsboy
Charles Lane Florist Keating
Pat McKee Newsman
Edward McWade
Philip Morris Detective
Forbes Murray Mr. Handel
Frank Orth Undertaker
Albert Pollet Waiter
Dick Rich
Tim Ryan
Harry Seymour Bartender
Harry Strang
Basil Walker
Paul Weigel Old Man
Cecil Weston Police Matron
Technical Credits
H. Bruce Humberstone Director
Harold Barlow Songwriter
Edward J. Cronjager Cinematographer
Richard Day Art Director
Bernard Freericks Sound/Sound Designer
Lewis Harris Songwriter
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Nathan Juran Art Director
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Cyril Mockridge Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Guy Pearce Makeup
Robert L. Simpson Editor
Milton Sperling Producer
Dwight Taylor Screenwriter
Gwen Wakeling Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- I Wake Up Screaming
1. Main Titles [:59]
2. The Murdered Model [1:04]
3. Presenting Miss Lynn [5:20]
4. The Sister's Story [4:55]
5. Vicky's News [4:55]
6. The Mysterious Stranger [4:08]
7. Glad to Get Rid of Me [3:01]
8. The Look of a Guilty Man [2:09]
9. A Terrible Mistake [1:42]
10. Rat in the Bedroom [2:53]
11. Helpful Harry [2:34]
12. The Actor's Interrogation [5:40]
13. Tightening the Noose [2:13]
14. Matters of Justice [2:51]
15. A Date With Frankie [5:50]
16. The Lido Plunge [1:56]
17. The Letter [2:35]
18. On the Run [2:46]
19. Hide and Seek [2:44]
20. No Deals [2:09]
21. Out of the Box [3:44]
22. Flowers Every Day [3:59]
23. Because I Promised [2:25]
24. The Only Chance [:48]
25. Call From the Dead [2:47]
26. The Cure [4:39]
27. Mrs. Botticelli [:39]
28. End Titles [:28]
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Disc #1 -- I Wake Up Screaming
   Language Selection
      Language and Audio: English Mono
      Language and Audio: English Stereo
      Language and Audio: Commentary by Film Noir Historian Eddie Muller
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Commentary by Film Noir Historian Eddie Muller: On
      Commentary by Film Noir Historian Eddie Muller: Off
      "Daddy" Deleted Scene
      Hot Spot
         Opening Title Treatment (Without Sound)
         Poster Gallery
      Still Galleries
         Poster Gallery
         Production Stills Gallery
         Unit Photography Gallery
      Theatrical Trailer
      Fox Noir
         House of Strangers
         Fallen Angel
         If You Liked This Movie, You May Want to Try...
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Film Noir!Best Yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have seen I Wake UP Screaming many times. Even though I know how it ends, the acting and the script are so good I have never tired of this movie. I believe it is the ultimate film noir! It has a terrific villian and other unsavory characters and humorous charactors also. The acting was great, and that includes everyone in this wonderful ensemble. The chemistry between Betty Grable and Victure Mature was amazing. The cinematography was dark and brooding, and the musical score was haunting and perfect. For first time viewers rest assured you will be surprised by the many twists and turns. Highest recommendation!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews