A very early version of a crime thriller that would "morph" over the ensuing 10 years into what is now commonly termed as "noir" type films. The story is fairly simple: a brash NYC promoter (played by Victure Mature) discovers an attractive young woman (Carole Landis) working in a diner. He bets his two urban sopisticate friends that he can make her a celebrity by getting her the right media exposure ( at the time it meant getting your picture and name in the newspaper society/gossip section). The woman, played by Carole Landis, is at first skeptical, but goes along with the plan and soon finds herself gaining cafe-society attention and endorsement work. Victor Mature's character and his two wager companions all have a "romantic" inetrest in the woman, so when she ends up murdered in the apartment she shares with her sister(Betty Grable), each of the three suitors come under suspicion as a possible culprit. The movie follows the attempts of a creepy police detective(Laird Cregar) as he relentlessly pursues and tries to prove the Victor Mature character as the murderer. While there are some "dark" tense moments, there are enough light touches and humor to keep an upbeat tone and lead the film to a happy ending.
What makes the film especially interesting is the early use of stylized lighting and film angle techniques that would come to represent standard features of the "noir" films (plus some fairly complex flashback narration). Also notable is the casting of Betty Grable as one of the leads. Ms Grable came to Hollywood in 1929 at the age of thirteen, and started working in film musicals as a chorus girl( yes, you can see her at this early age in films like "Whoopee" from 1930). She moved on to Co-ed movies in the 1930's with modest success at a few different studios, but was out of work by 1939 when Twentieth-Century Fox gave her a contract with the intention of putting her into Ginger Rogers-type musicals. After a leading-role hit in the 1940 musical-comedy "Down Argentine Way", the studio cast her in this film to take advantage of her rising popularity. Although "I Wake Up Screaming" was a financial success, Ms. Grable would effectively refuse dramatic-type roles for the rest of her career at Twentieth-Century-Fox (She would eventually have a falling out with the studio in 1953 over these refusals). After this film, she would sing and dance her way through a string of musical comedies that would make her the top female box-office draw from 1942 -1951( belying the tag of "pin-up girl" that is applied to her nowadays).The pert, bubbly personality and girl next-door looks that made her perfect for musical/comedies is readily apparent from watching this movie.
Fun film, with some added historical interest. A nice commentary in the bonus features
- Format: Anamorphic, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Kino Lorber
- DVD Release Date: 1 Nov 2016
- Run Time: 82 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B01LA0M5WE
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
26,661 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #19063 in Movies (Movies & TV)