March 23rd, 2020


Movie Critique – I Wake Up Screaming

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: A journey into the human mind through the noir filmography with subtle shades of humor around the morbid core of murder and crime.

I Wake Up Screaming is a 1941 film noir based on the novel of the same name by Steve Fisher, a prolific pulp writer. It stars Betty Grable, Victor Mature and Carole Landis in the lead cast. Steve also wrote screenplay for the film along-side Dwight Taylor.

The primary plot involves investigation into the murder of Vicky Lynn, a young actress who rose to fame quickly. Her promoter, Frankie Christopher, becomes the primary suspect. And he has to do everything in his power to prove the cops are wrong.

This movie is considered the first film noir although many still lean towards Humphrey Bogart's 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon, which was released few months prior to this film. This was also Betty Grable's first film in which she portrays a fully dramatic role compared to her other films where she had a song and dance role. And so also a first for Victor Mature, but he continued on to portray many other film noir roles since this film. 

This perhaps being the only kind of movie made by Director H. Bruce Humberstone, that it missed the mark to be recognized as the first film noir of Hollywood.  However, with the lighting and camera angles used by the Cinematographer, Edward Cronjager, in the film it is hard to be not noticed as a noir filmography. 

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