I Wake Up Screaming - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

I Wake Up Screaming Reviews

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½ July 11, 2016
I've never been much of a Victor Mature fan and I feel my dislike for him may have dragged down my enjoyment level of an otherwise solid film noir. Mature is the manager of a murdered starlet and is being set up to take the fall. Betty Grable plays the sister of the victim and at first suspects Mature, but slowly begins to think he's innocent. The film was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone, who I've never heard of before, but he does a fine job of giving the film a moody, shadow filled look. I'll actually be interested in seeing some of his other work. Elisha Cook, Jr. provides one of his off kilter supporting roles. The film also repeatedly used "Over the Rainbow" as a reoccurring melody in the film's soundtrack, which seemed odd. So overall, this one isn't a classic, but it's well made and I enjoyed it despite my dislike of Victor Mature.
June 24, 2016
One of the most beautifully shot film noirs.
½ May 16, 2016
A funny, intriguing, and compelling ride that ends with somewhat of a whimper.
July 20, 2015
Early film noir that isn't quite as bleak as the cycle would later get but still excels in showing shadows, oddness, and the possibly inescapable noose tightening around the protagonist's neck. Victor Mature is affable but a bit of scumbag as the sports promoter seeking to turn an ordinary but beautiful waitress into a celebrity; when she turns up dead, he's the prime suspect. Betty Grable plays the sister who ends up helping Mature despite herself. Heavy-set Laird Cregar is the creepy police inspector who turns up everywhere Mature goes. It plays like a whodunit at times but rings those noir notes (that would get louder in coming years) that didn't appear in the standard mystery fare of the time (including the Charlie Chan series also directed by Bruce Humberstone).
½ February 1, 2015
I do not understand the appeal, not one bit. Ridiculous at every level. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" playing throughout the entire damn movie. Boring as sin. Empty entertainment at best, for its time, and completely useless now.
January 1, 2015
Ed Cornell: "When I get all my evidence together, I'm gonna have you tied up like a pig in a slaughterhouse."
½ November 30, 2014
A director out of his element made a movie that became a noir touch stone. The tension between romantic comedy (which director Humberstone was experienced with) and noir (which he was assigned to direct here) leave the audience a little off-balance and a bit uncertain what to expect; which mostly works to good effect. Some great noir images were created. Elisha Cooke, Jr., who became a staple of noir cinema appears in an early, and already distinctive, small role. Carole Landis outshines Betty Grable, playing Grable's sister for the second time that year. And Laird Cregar anchors the whole movie with his looming presence.
November 19, 2014
Above average noir nothing more!
September 1, 2014
awesome film noir from the first noir cycle also betty grable's only non singing non dancing performance.
½ August 7, 2014
Laird Cregar is fabulous as the obsessed detective Ed Cornell while Carole Landis relishes her role as the femme fatale in this very clever crime thriller. Unfortunately, the noir atmosphere is not maintained consistently throughout the movie. And although Victor Mature and Betty Grable are adequate in their respective roles, I couldn't help but imagine how much better this would have been with the likes of Dana Andrews or Dick Powell and Ida Lupino or Claire Trevor instead. Having said that, this is still well worth watching.
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2013
The signatures of noir are all present here: a dead body, a big gorilla, a grueling cross examination, a too smart love affair, and loads of dark eyed people smoking in dark rooms lit from the lights from behind venetian blinds while knocking back the hooch. American life was not the dream dreamt if you managed to survive the war, yet again. Loved it.
November 18, 2012
Often considered the first of the classic film noir canon, it is indeed a very nifty, very clever mystery that plays with our expectations in its use of light-hearted tone contrasted deftly with the sharp angles, smoke-filled beams from low-placed lamps and bold fedora-wearing shadows on the walls. The casting is a delicate balance that works, and so is the plot. Its ultimate surprises are easily foreseen because of the sheer amount of formula films in its wake, and yet those revelations still turn out to be more complex than we expect.
September 16, 2012
A suspense story told in the most complex way. Until the end the viewer isn't sure who actually committed the murder of a beautiful and aspiring young model. A famous sports promoter is trying to prove his innocence, while romancing with a pretty sister of the dead girl, and having a brute and psychotic policeman on his back all the time. Sombre and mysterious, I Wake Up Screaming is a very thrilling noir that is often omitted when talking about fine titles in the category. Great B-grade cast, moody cinematography and a fast-paced script that doesn't let the viewer loose his focus.
½ April 6, 2012
Noir fans will like this one, others... well... maybe not so much. The thing about classic noir films is that they are crime dramas that rely heavily on dialogue. Modern films of similar content are so laden with elaborate chase sequences and choreographed fight scenes that there's little screen time left for simple human conversation. Younger viewers who were weaned on James Bond or even Jason Bourne often find noir classics to be slow and dull. I find it more than a little sad that the spoken word and the colorful narrative are becoming lost art forms.

Oh, and I still haven't quite figured out who wakes up screaming.
March 13, 2012
I generally like clever noirs and this was highly rated on IMDB so I gave it a whirl. The plot was quite cleverly convoluted (apart from one major hole which totally spoiled it for me), the acting was ok, the print and cinematography were good for its age, the sharp dialogue didn't sparkle quite as much as it needed to and the music was kind of annoying. A bit of action, a dog, a few classic cars, anything, would've helped quite a bit, but alas... 6/10
½ February 2, 2012
Good noir qualities. The only thing was that the director might not have even known he was making a film noir (after all, this was only the first year of the genre). Still, he was going back and forth between light-hearted comedy and dark drama, so it was hard to understand what he was really going for. Nevertheless, when the noir qualities were present, they gave the film its power. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" only complicated things.
January 29, 2012
Greatest Femmes Fatales in Classic Film Noir
December 3, 2011
âI Wake Up Screamingâ? is simply amazing. This is definitely in my Top 5 for Film Noir both for its unpredictable story and breathtaking acting. I am dumbfounded by this filmâ(TM)s failure at the box-office. It is perfectly cast as the trio of leads offer wonderful chemistry. I think that I may have fallen in love with Betty Grable a bit while watching this film. Her spunky attitude and big eyes will capture your heart and have you in a trance from start to finish. She is paired with Victor Mature (who has a perfect face for film noir) and Carole Landis (whose performance convinces me that her suicide was a tragic loss to the acting community). The story is enchanting as the guilt shifts from person to person, until the least-expecting ending comes to light. The film uses expert cinematography, particularly with the use of shadows throughout the film. I donâ(TM)t care that the critics did not care for this film - it is one of the best of itâ(TM)s genre and should not be overlooked.
September 28, 2011
A truly fantastic film noir with plenty of twists and turns.
½ August 18, 2011
Good movie! Vicky Lynn (Landis) is an aspiring actress, until she turns up dead. When Frank Christopher (Mature) is accused of her slaying, his only hope is the second voice from her sister (Grable). When when Frank and Vicky's sister begin to fall in love, the cops are all the more suspicious-- and decide that Frank the one they're looking for. I Wake Up Screaming is a fun, cheek-to-cheek movie starring the biggest star of the '40's, Betty Grable. Support is by Victor Mature, Carole Landis (who should have become a star after this), and Laird Cregar. They all play their parts wonderfully, but by far, Cregar does the best job. I was surprised by the creative cinematography, and the happy score (what in the world), however, after a while it grew on me, and I'm sure you will too. I Wake Up Screaming is definitely not a classic-- but it's short and sweet, so it's not a waste of your time.
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