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"I Wake up Screaming"

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"I Wake up Screaming"

Postby MikeBSG » February 28th, 2009, 2:37 pm

I watched this on DVD last week and was very impressed. It looked great and moved like lightning.

In some ways, the plot about three men obsessed with a dead woman whose career they have furthered reminded me a bit of "Laura." Also, the sinister atmosphere this film gave New York made me think of the Val Lewton films "Cat People" and "The Seventh Victim."

Indeed, the plot, in which a woman falls for a man who might be complicit in the death of her sister, reminded me a bit of "seventh Victim."

Victor Mature did a good job as the hero, and Laird Cregar was magnificent as the creepy policeman.

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Re: "I Wake up Screaming"

Postby Dewey1960 » February 28th, 2009, 6:42 pm

This truly is a wonderful and unique 1941 noir film as well as being quite close to the very dawn of the cycle. One of the aspects I find particularly interesting is Laird Cregar's character--Inspector Cornell--the obsessive detective who hounds Mature throughout the film. Steve Fisher, the author of the story named this character after (you guessed it) his contemporary in the world of penny-a-word pulp fiction---Cornell Woolrich. Mr. Woolrich, as many of us know, had numerous personal idiosyncrasies which were, no doubt known to those with whom he regularly associated. A chillingly odd yet endearing bit of noir trivia.

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Re: "I Wake up Screaming"

Postby MikeBSG » March 6th, 2009, 10:36 am

I'm glad you liked this movie as much as I did.

The only stuff I could read about it, in an otherwise shrewd guide to film noir called "A Girl and a Gun," was very dismissive of "I Wake Up Screaming."

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Re: "I Wake up Screaming"

Postby moira finnie » March 6th, 2009, 11:38 am

MikeBSG wrote:The only stuff I could read about it, in an otherwise shrewd guide to film noir called "A Girl and a Gun," was very dismissive of "I Wake Up Screaming."

I really don't understand how anyone could be dismissive of I Wake Up Screaming (1941). It has so many elements that became associated with film noir: glorious black and white cinematography from Edward Cronjager, the duality of the female, courtesy of Carole Landis and Betty Grable, a detour through Abnormal Psych, lots of great character actors, including Elisha Cook, Jr., and excellent, off kilter work from Laird Cregar and Victor Mature, not to mention healthy doses of urban despair, loneliness and tawdry dreams of glory that lure one and all from the straight and narrow.

My only problem with this movie is that I don't own it, and I haven't even seen the relatively new dvd, (shame, shame). Here's one appreciation of this film by a writer I like. Maybe you'll find this a more satisfying read about this movie:
Gary Giddins on I Wake Up Screaming: "Glossy Perfection"
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Re: "I Wake up Screaming"

Postby movieman1957 » November 30th, 2014, 11:36 pm

This has been discussed all over the place here so I come back to this thread just because it carries the title.

Overall I didn't love it. I think the atmosphere is terrific and the performances are well done. Grable was fine. Apparently she didn't like her performance but what is not to like? I was a little disappointed in the ending. Cregar's obsession was a little too much. I understand the last scene explaining all this but it is a little too out of the blue. Maybe it was my mood but I didn't share in Mature's panic either. The killer really didn't seem the type and the circumstances didn't ring true for me.

One thing that it did accomplish was to make the motif from "Over The Rainbow" completely annoying. It is fine the first time or two but every time (so it seems) Betty shows up there it is. Very little variation on it makes it too constant and distracting.

As an early noir it does fine setting the bar, "The Maltese Falcon" notwithstanding. of staging and lighting for those to follow. And did they follow.

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Re: "I Wake up Screaming"

Postby RedRiver » December 1st, 2014, 11:34 pm

the atmosphere is terrific and the performances are well done

I agree. I also support the rest of your observations. The film's unabashed B look makes it fun and likeable. The story is standard, but satisfying. There's no greatness here. Yet, in all honesty, I prefer it to the more polished version of a few years later. In cleaning up the awkwardness of the earlier film, VICKI loses the thing that most recommends this less than brilliant story!

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