Nightmare (1956 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Maxwell Shane
Produced by William H. Pine
William C. Thomas
Screenplay by Maxwell Shane
Based on And So to Death
1941 story
by Cornell Woolrich
Starring Edward G. Robinson
Kevin McCarthy
Connie Russell
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc
Edited by George A. Gittens
Pine-Thomas Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • May 11, 1956 (1956-05-11) (New York City)
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Nightmare is a 1956 American film noir crime film directed by Maxwell Shane starring Edward G. Robinson, Kevin McCarthy and Connie Russell.[1]

The story is based on a novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich). The book also became a 1947 film, Fear in the Night.


New Orleans big band clarinetist Stan Grayson (Kevin McCarthy) has a nightmare in which he sees himself in a mirrored room, killing a man. He awakens to find blood on himself, bruises on his neck, and a key from the dream in his hand.

Grayson goes to his brother-in-law, police detective Rene Bressard (Edward G. Robinson), about the problem but is dismissed. Later, the two men go on a picnic in the country with Grayson's girlfriend and sister. Grayson leads them to an empty house, the house of his dream, when it begins to rain. They are shocked to see that the house has a mirrored room just like in his dream. After it is found out that a murder did indeed take place, Grayson becomes Bressard's number one suspect.

Grayson, stressed out and suicidal, protests his innocence, which makes Bressard dig deeper. That leads to them finding out about a hypnotist in Grayson's building who apparently set up the musician for murder.



Nightmare was directed by longtime screenwriter Maxwell Shane, later the producer of the horror anthology television series Thriller in the early 1960s. He directed both versions of the film. Billy May and His Orchestra perform in this version.

Even though Robinson was not the hypnotist in the film, he was promoted as such in the film's movie posters.

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