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This was my first viewing ever of I WAKE UP SCREAMING which I think I avoided because the title made me think of cheesy 60's drive-in horror flicks.  But, I was ultimately curious about a noir that had Betty Grable in the cast (?!)  Overall impression is that is was certainly worth watching even though the music made me crazy.  "Over The Rainbow??"  Really??  And not just once but again and again and again.  Mature, Landis and Grable do a good job and Laird puts in his standard "I am creepier than creepy" performance.  I liked that it was absolutely conceivable that one of the Allyn/Alans could have done it so we had more than a few suspects.  A bonus was, of course, Charles Lane popping up in one of his 300+ bit performances. 

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36 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Good point, MissW. Cregar could be both creepy AND vulnerable at the same time, while Burr specialized in just creepy.

I disagree, Burr would have been great. He has enough acting chops to pull it off. There is a movie I remember him in ... could it possibly been a silent (or is that going back to far. The movie had the feel of a silent, though the memory is dim). I didn't see the whole film but just an excerpt. He played a bad guy but there was a sort of "poor soul" (think; Gleason, with those eyes he put on for it) kind of thing with the  performance that was truly weird (the character might have been simple minded),  coming from Raymond. Whatever it was that he managed to do in that film would have served him great as Cornell. I have no idea the title but some of you experts out there may know it. But Burr probably would not have eclipsed Cregar, no complaints against the latter.

//

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33 minutes ago, laffite said:

I disagree, Burr would have been great. He has enough acting chops to pull it off. There is a movie I remember him in ... could it possibly been a silent (or is that going back to far. The movie had the feel of a silent, though the memory is dim). I didn't see the whole film but just an excerpt. He played a bad guy but there was a sort of "poor soul" (think; Gleason, with those eyes he put on for it) kind of thing with the  performance that was truly weird (the character might have been simple minded),  coming from Raymond. Whatever it was that he managed to do in that film would have served him great as Cornell. I have no idea the title but some of you experts out there may know it. But Burr probably would not have eclipsed Cregar, no complaints against the latter.

//

Raymond Burr was a good actor but I can't recall him playing vulnerability. Therefore I don't know the film to which you refer. In  any event, Cregar was perfect casting in the film. That's what counts.

 

P.S.: Now that I think about it did Burr play a mentally challenged emotionally childlike heavy in A Cry in the Night, in which he kidnaps Natalie Wood? I can't recall the film well enough to say how good he was, though.

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4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Joe,  I agree with most of what you say here.  Except....musical ?  Really?  You can't count the soundtrack, all movies at that time had soundtrack music. Doesn't make them a "musical".  And there is all of one scene with anyone singing. Yes, there's that clip -- I guess it's Vicky's screen test /audition for Hollywood.  I can't even remember what's she's singing, and the scene ends before her song is done.   I can go with your explanation of the "Gateway" genre thing in the other categories, but not "musical".

I though the audition film clip  with Vicky singing  was more like throwing Grabel/Musical fans a bone.  😉

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Creepy Cregar and Elisha Cooked really helped this movie. Without them, it's a rather pedestrian murder

mystery, with Mature and Grable making cow-eyes at each other for the last half of the movie. But Cregar

keeps things interesting as the crooked cop with the obsession with Vicki, right down to his personal shrine.

Spooky. And Cook takes his usual turn as the pathetic smoe with no chance for the brass ring. There is also

a brief look at the pr business of inventing a star out of very little. I'm sure there is some eager beaver who

could find an earlier flick that has many noir qualities, it would just take a lot of looking.

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5 hours ago, Dargo said:

 

No idea why I wanted to respond to this.

4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

i also enjoyed how in the "outro" EDDIE MULLER threw up his hands and was like "you got me" as to why OVER THE RAINBOW** was ALL OVER this TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM NOIR.

it's the equivalent of DOOLEY WILSON singing AS TIME GOES BY in the middle of a REPUBLIC WESTERN.

 

**I mean, it was an MGM SIGNATURE SONG, maybe moreso than SINGIN IN THE RAIN. And it had WON THE OSCAR TWO YEARS EARLIER!!!

We both got irritated to some degree with the over use of Over the Rainbow.  It just did not fit.

Oh, and I still think Burr could have done the role very well, especially now that we know the age difference was not all that much.  To me Creagar was too wimpy in the end (credit the writing?) in contrast to how he played the role up until then.  He was supposed to be the ultimate, take no prisoners, bend every rule, plant false evidence, evil police officer ever.  I do think Burr could have played the role.  After all, he played many, many mean villains and then all of a sudden became Perry Mason-one of the ultimate good guys.

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28 minutes ago, TheCid said:

o me Creagar was too wimpy in the end (credit the writing?) in contrast to how he played the role up until then.

As I expressed earlier, I rather like that. It simply revealed something heretofore not known about the man, what was underneath. We get a little foreshadowing near the beginning when he is mooning about ogling Vicki. True, at the time it was kind of creepy, but we find out at the end he was, above all else, a love lorn loser. This is a device that has been used in other films but I cannot think of one right now. The big reversal at the end, the tough guy caves at the end and has a nervous breakdown, or something.

38 minutes ago, Vautrin said:

There is also

a brief look at the pr business of inventing a star out of very little.

...though not a very realistic one. No one could climb to such heights in such a short trice of time. But it's a film device. It's called plot-wise economy, ha

//.

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4 hours ago, laffite said:

 

...though not a very realistic one. No one could climb to such heights in such a short trice of time. But it's a film device. It's called plot-wise economy, ha

//.

Yeah, your standard Hollywood fantasy, though on the rare occasion someone does hit it big right away.

I haven't seen Vicki in a while, but it seems there were more details about how she made it to the big

time. 

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I really enjoyed “I Wake Up Screaming.”  My only issue was the weird score that accompanied the film. Why repeat the same two songs over and over? Why “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” ?That had to be a deliberate choice on Fox’s part since that was an MGM song. 

Aside from the music however, I loved the cast and the storyline. I wish we could have seen a scene of Landis viewing Laird Cregar’s shrine to her. That, combined with him watching her through the window each night was definitely creepy. Sadly, the motive/cause  behind Landis’ character’s death is still prescient today. I’d seen this movie before but had forgotten how it ended. I guessed Cregar and my husband guessed  Elisha Cook Jr. 

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I lost interest about half an hour through. (I'd seen it once before). Cregar really got on my nerves. No detective would be allowed to act like that (even in the movies!) Strained credibility. The Mature/Grable romance slowed down the plot and suspense.

I had forgotten about the use of Over the Rainbow. Even Eddie didn't know! So strange.

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20 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

 

I have seen SCREAMING (I think) three times now- the first, 10 years ago on DVD, and i did not like it. The second time, not too long ago on TCM, and I still didn't like it.

BUT THE THIRD TIME I WATCHED IT, THIS MORNING, well, I didn't DISLIKE it. Once you know what the faults are going into this thing, you can sit back and talk to the screen and not worry about anything logical or sensible or genuine happening in it.

it has been SO LONG since I read the STEVE FISCHER (SP?) NOVEL, that I would have to re-read it to say for sure, but I think the real big mistake that was made was changing the location to NEW YORK CITY. I don't think this was a NEW YORK STORY at heart, it was  a HOLLYWOOD STORY. Hollywood is where hashslingers "learn to sling something else" after being discovered...in my mind at least.

There was also a definite "WE ARE TOTALLY MAKING THIS THING UP AS WE GO ALONG" feel to it- I have the sense that everyone's script was a RAINBOW OF COLORED PAGES** and this thing was BEAT SEVERELY in the EDITING ROOM, they probably even added shots and scenes after it was over.

(the identity of the killer especially feels like they came up with it on-set that morning and were like "ANYONE GOT ANY BETTER IDEAS? NO? OK THEN, LET'S PLAY IT!")

 

 

**Rewritten pages in a script are printed on colored paper, like yellow or pink. if you see a script that is more than three colors of paper, it's probably a MESS.

This was my second viewing and my last. Just HATED it this time around......

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Just to continue with a few comments about I Wake Up Screaming...first,  I think it's interesting that opinion on this one seems to be so divided. It seems to be one of those "love it or hate it" films.  Or maybe not...come to think of it, I neither loved nor hated it, that's a bit facile. But I would say, I kind of liked it, and certainly liked it more on this, I think my third viewing, than previous times I'd seen it.  Hibi, looks like not so much with you.

Victor Mature:  I like this actor, yet there's definitely something smarmy about him. He always looks likes he's been swathed in oil - and not holy oil, either !  SPOILER  !!!  The first time I saw IWUS, I really did suspect him; shirley any guy who looks like that could be capable of murder,  not in a creepy psycho-killer way, more like "You crossed me, I don't like being crossed, you'll get yours'  "  kind of way.  (Even though yes, that sounds like gangsterish dialogue, and I don't think Mature played gangsters very much.)  So that's kind of a plus, the first time anyone watches this movie, they will probably be kept guessing as to Mature's guilt.   (By the way, anyone else thinks he has a bit of a look-alike in Cornel Wilde ?)

Laird Cregar  (again):  I know I already said this, but I will reiterate, I strongly disagree with those who think another actor would have done better in the role as the weird, creepy, Vicky-obsessed police detective.  Someone said they thought the character's falling apart in the end ruined his tough persona, and that was a flaw in the film.  Of course it ruined Cornell's persona !  that was what made it interesting !!  I don't want my bad guys to be all bad, nor my good guys to be all good.  When we see Cornell's shrine to Vicky and hear his sad story about his hopeless love for her, we suddenly feel compassion for him  ( I did, anyway);  it explains everything, why he relentlessly pursued Frankie Christopher despite knowing full well the man was innocent.  This nasty creepy man suddenly becomes sad and vulnerable, in a believable way.  He's still a creep, but now he's a pitiable creep.  I think that's much more involving and, from a character development point of view, complicated, than just a stone-hearted evil villain would be.

The music:  Ok, seems no one has a problem with "Street Scene".   I think all us noiristas  (is that a word?)  know and love this piece, and associate it with noir, where it's been used so much.

So we're talking about "Over the Rainbow".  this is my take:  Don't forget, this movie was made just two years after the hugely popular "Wizard of Oz", everyone would know the song.  So I think it was just partly wanting to integrate a song that was familiar to everyone into the film.  But also :  that song, as we all know, denotes a kind of innocence, and yearning for a better time, a better place.  Notice that the song is only played whenever we see Jill (Betty Grable).  Jill is supposed to be the opposite of her sister Vicky; she's always shown doing things like washing dishes (in high heels !)  and typing to catch up on her stenographer's job (for which I doubt she gets paid overtime, but anyway....)

Jill is supposed to be seen as the quintessential innocent young woman, a young woman who just wants a happy normal life.  What better tune to convey that innocence and desire for a happy normal life than "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"?  I think the song is short-hand for Jill's naivete and sweet nature.  (Hey, maybe her true sister isn't Vicky, it's Dorothy.)  Anyway, I wasn't irritated by the presence of the song like everyone else here seems to have been.

 

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8 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

UNDERSTANDABLE.

it's a polarizing movie; and so ODD.

It could've been better. The script is all over the place. Sort of a 3rd rate Laura in some ways (though Laura was made later).

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49 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

(By the way, anyone else thinks he has a bit of a look-alike in Cornel Wilde ?)

I always thought both Mature and Wilde were much more talented than people gave them credit for. 

Wilde was very good and likable as the patient husband of klutzy June Allyson in Woman's World (1954). He did an excellent job as the honest cop with a soft spot for the ladies in The Big Combo (1955). His biggest artistic triumphs were in the 1960s where he became a great director as well. He did an outstanding job with the brutal and bloody adventure film The Naked Prey (1966) and the surprisingly tough war drama Beach Red (1967). He also gave two of his best performances in these as well. 

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On 3/13/2020 at 3:38 PM, LornaHansonForbes said:

Probably doesn’t hurt to repeat that fact though (Don’t always trust IMDb)

Eddie explained the title change was due to the film flopping under the Hot Spot title. It was changed and rereleased (with some tweaking) the next year.

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

So we're talking about "Over the Rainbow".  this is my take:  Don't forget, this movie was made just two years after the hugely popular "Wizard of Oz", everyone would know the song.  So I think it was just partly wanting to integrate a song that was familiar to everyone into the film.  But also :  that song, as we all know, denotes a kind of innocence, and yearning for a better time, a better place.  Notice that the song is only played whenever we see Jill (Betty Grable).  Jill is supposed to be the opposite of her sister Vicky; she's always shown doing things like washing dishes (in high heels !)  and typing to catch up on her stenographer's job (for which I doubt she gets paid overtime, but anyway....)

Thanks for pointing this out; it outlines what I meant when I said the use of the two songs,  the Street Scene theme and OTR was "effective".

 

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

It could've been better. The script is all over the place. Sort of a 3rd rate Laura in some ways (though Laura was made later).

to be fair, it's no small feat making a film that is both mediocre and ahead of its time, so there's that.

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INTER-OFFICE MEMORANDUM:

20th Century Fox Studios -

10201 Pico Blvd.,

Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA

JUNE 5, 1941

ATTN: MUSIC DEPARTMENT

JOE:

AS YOU KNOW, I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE GO-AHEAD BY ZANUCK TO DO WHATEVER I CAN TO TURN AROUND THE PROPERTY FORMERLY KNOWN AS "HOT SPOT" FOR RE-RELEASE AS "I WAKE UP SCREAMING." AS SUCH, AM GIVING SERIOUS THOUGHT TO USING TWO SONGS AS  HEAVY MUSICAL LEITMOTIFS. I KNOW WE OWN THE RIGHTS TO STREET SCENE, , BUT IF POSSIBLE, I'D LIKE A SECOND SONG TO ALSO DOMINATE THE SOUNDTRACK COMPLETELY. IT'S A STRANGE PICTURE, AND I THINK THE RIGHT CHOICE OF A MUSICAL THEME WILL REALLY HELP TO "SELL IT" A LITTLE BETTER TO GRABLE AND MATURE'S FANS.

MY SUGGESTIONS:

LADY OF SPAIN (ON ACCORDIAN);

LYDIA THE TATTOOED LADY (CAN WE GET GROUCHO TO RECORD?).

ANYTHING BY SPIKE JONZE

TOCCATTA AND FUGUE IN D-MINOR BY JS BACH

ON THE GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP (WE OWN THIS ONE, YEAH?)

OR

OVER THE RAINBOW.

LET ME KNOW YOUR CHOICE, AND AGAIN: ZANUCK HAS GIVEN ME COMPLETE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THIS CALL.

YOURS,

H. HUMBERT HUMBERTSTONE, DGA

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Just to continue with a few comments about I Wake Up Screaming...first,  I think it's interesting that opinion on this one seems to be so divided. It seems to be one of those "love it or hate it" films.  Or maybe not...come to think of it, I neither loved nor hated it, that's a bit facile. But I would say, I kind of liked it, and certainly liked it more on this, I think my third viewing, than previous times I'd seen it.  Hibi, looks like not so much with you.

Victor Mature:  I like this actor, yet there's definitely something smarmy about him. He always looks likes he's been swathed in oil - and not holy oil, either !  SPOILER  !!!  The first time I saw IWUS, I really did suspect him; shirley any guy who looks like that could be capable of murder,  not in a creepy psycho-killer way, more like "You crossed me, I don't like being crossed, you'll get yours'  "  kind of way.  (Even though yes, that sounds like gangsterish dialogue, and I don't think Mature played gangsters very much.)  So that's kind of a plus, the first time anyone watches this movie, they will probably be kept guessing as to Mature's guilt.   (By the way, anyone else thinks he has a bit of a look-alike in Cornel Wilde ?)

 

Yep, I know what you mean about Mature. I want to like him and I think he's an ok actor but there's something totally bizarre about his looks. Just a bit too much "cave man." In Screaming,  I assumed he was innocent (since the cops were hounding him so much) but I could absolutely buy him as a villain (or a gladiator!)

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36 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

INTER-OFFICE MEMORANDUM:

20th Century Fox Studios -

10201 Pico Blvd.,

Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA

JUNE 5, 1941

ATTN: MUSIC DEPARTMENT

JOE:

AS YOU KNOW, I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE GO-AHEAD BY ZANUCK TO DO WHATEVER I CAN TO TURN AROUND THE PROPERTY FORMERLY KNOWN AS "HOT SPOT" FOR RE-RELEASE AS "I WAKE UP SCREAMING." AS SUCH, AM GIVING SERIOUS THOUGHT TO USING TWO SONGS AS  HEAVY MUSICAL LEITMOTIFS. I KNOW WE OWN THE RIGHTS TO STREET SCENE, , BUT IF POSSIBLE, I'D LIKE A SECOND SONG TO ALSO DOMINATE THE SOUNDTRACK COMPLETELY. IT'S A STRANGE PICTURE, AND I THINK THE RIGHT CHOICE OF A MUSICAL THEME WILL REALLY HELP TO "SELL IT" A LITTLE BETTER TO GRABLE AND MATURE'S FANS.

MY SUGGESTIONS:

LADY OF SPAIN (ON ACCORDIAN);

LYDIA THE TATTOOED LADY (CAN WE GET GROUCHO TO RECORD?).

ANYTHING BY SPIKE JONZE

TOCCATTA AND FUGUE IN D-MINOR BY JS BACH

ON THE GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP (WE OWN THIS ONE, YEAH?)

OR

OVER THE RAINBOW.

LET ME KNOW YOUR CHOICE, AND AGAIN: ZANUCK HAS GIVEN ME COMPLETE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THIS CALL.

YOURS,

H. HUMBERT HUMBERTSTONE, DGA

Right.  But what did you think of my theory as to why they decided to use "Over the Rainbow", and how they thought the innocence and yearning in the song would somehow be associated with Jill's character?

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13 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

Right.  But what did you think of my theory as to why they decided to use "Over the Rainbow", and how they thought the innocence and yearning in the song would somehow be associated with Jill's character?

oh yeah, absolutely....although again, this highlights what a mistake it was to move the setting of this story from HOLLYWOOD to NEW YORK- the NYC location just does not mesh with THAT song the way HOLLYWOOD does.

i think a better chance would have been though that HAROLD ARLEN (who owned the rights to the song, as someone else pointed out) was SCHLEPPING it around HOLLYWOOD and 2oth though maybe some of the magic would "rub off" on this troubled production....AND POSSIBLY EVEN that ZANUCK used it as a way to JAB at LB MAYER.

the fact that the song invokes innocence and hope was just an added bonus.

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4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

The music:  Ok, seems no one has a problem with "Street Scene".   I think all us noiristas  (is that a word?)  know and love this piece, and associate it with noir, where it's been used so much.

So we're talking about "Over the Rainbow".  this is my take:  Don't forget, this movie was made just two years after the hugely popular "Wizard of Oz", everyone would know the song.  So I think it was just partly wanting to integrate a song that was familiar to everyone into the film.  But also :  that song, as we all know, denotes a kind of innocence, and yearning for a better time, a better place.  Notice that the song is only played whenever we see Jill (Betty Grable).  Jill is supposed to be the opposite of her sister Vicky; she's always shown doing things like washing dishes (in high heels !)  and typing to catch up on her stenographer's job (for which I doubt she gets paid overtime, but anyway....)

Jill is supposed to be seen as the quintessential innocent young woman, a young woman who just wants a happy normal life.  What better tune to convey that innocence and desire for a happy normal life than "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"?  I think the song is short-hand for Jill's naivete and sweet nature.  (Hey, maybe her true sister isn't Vicky, it's Dorothy.)  Anyway, I wasn't irritated by the presence of the song like everyone else here seems to have been.

it also reinforces to me the "musical" bone being thrown to the audience The Wizard of Oz was a Adventure, Family, Fantasy and a Musical 

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I Wake Up Screaming's Betty Grable musical number - cut from the film. If this number had been included, as originally envisioned, it would have strengthened any case made that this film has musical overtones. But without it, forget it.

 

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