I Wake Up Screaming

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I Wake Up Screaming
I wake up screaming.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
Produced by Milton Sperling
Screenplay by Dwight Taylor
Steve Fisher
Based on the novel I Wake Up Screaming 
by Steve Fisher
Starring Betty Grable
Victor Mature
Carole Landis
Laird Cregar
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Edward Cronjager
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • November 14, 1941 (1941-11-14) (United States)
Running time 82 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I Wake Up Screaming (originally titled Hot Spot) is a 1941 film noir.[1] It is based on the novel of the same name by Steve Fisher, who co-wrote the screenplay with Dwight Taylor. The film stars Betty Grable, Victor Mature and Carole Landis, and features one of Grable's few dramatic roles.

Plot[edit]

A young promoter, Frankie Christopher (Mature), is accused of the murder of Vicky Lynn (Landis), a young actress he "discovered" as a waitress while out with ex-actor Robin Ray and gossip columnist Larry Evans.

Frankie hides out with Vicky's sister, Jill (Grable), with whom he is falling in love, but is eventually captured and interrogated by the cops. An obsessive police officer, Cornell, knows that Frankie is innocent but because the evidence is completely incriminating, he tries to put the suspect behind bars anyway. Frankie escapes and eventually finds the murderer's true identity.

Cast[edit]

Background[edit]

The film was remade in 1953 as Vicki.[1]

Alternate title[edit]

I Wake Up Screaming was previewed for the press on October 16, 1941 under the title Hot Spot.[2]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a favorable review, writing, "Veteran Fox studio director H. Bruce Humberstone (Charlie Chan at the Opera/Sun Valley Serenade), whose films ranged from Charlie Chan to Tarzan, puts forth his best effort in this thrilling film noir. I Wake Up Screaming was remade in 1953 as Vicki. Dwight Taylor bases his screenplay on the book by pulp writer Steve Fisher. In a jarring move that works in an odd way, 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' is the soundtrack that can be heard throughout. This early film noir, shot in a naturalistic style, showed how dark photography can increase a brooding mood and make the film more tense ... The conclusion is filled with plot twists and surprise character revelations, as the marvelously sinister performance by Laird Cregar as the sicko detective dominates the screen."[3]

Music[edit]

The film's score was made up of "Over the Rainbow" and the theme from the 1931 film Street Scene, written by Alfred Newman.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mayer, Geoff and Brian McDonnell. Encyclopedia of film noir (2007: Greenwood Publishing Company). page 226. ISBN 978-0-313-33306-4
  2. ^ TCM web-site.
  3. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, December 20, 2004. Accessed: July 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Beck, Jay and Tony Grajeda. Lowering the Boom: Critical Studies in Film Sound (2008: University of Illinois Press). page 114. ISBN 0-252-07532-3

External links[edit]