An unpretentious but highly enjoyable thriller with a satisfactory twist in its tail, I Wake Up Screaming certainly ranks as director H Bruce Humberstone’s best film, with a powerful sense of tension and corruption which raises it well above his undeniably competent but otherwise anonymous other pictures.
The leads are taken by Victor Mature, as a successful Broadway writer who comes to Hollywood and falls in love with a beautiful secretary (Carole Landis), who is then murdered, and Betty Grable (in a rare straight performance) as the dead girl’s sister, but it is Laird Cregar as the detective hired to investigate the killing who dominates the film.
His performance as the sinister investigator who becomes psychopathically obsessed with the dead girl is a memorable one and set him on a career which was notable for his highly individual and always fascinating portrayals of villains. The distinguished roster of supporting actors includes excellent appearances from Alan Mowbray as a stage actor, Ally Joslyn as a newspaper columnist and Elisha Cook Jr as a strange switchboard operator.
Cast: Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Carole Landis, Laird Cregar, William Gargan, Alan Mowbray, Allyn Joslyn, Elisha Cook Jr, Morris Ankrum
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Writer: Dwight Taylor, based on the novel by Steve Fisher
Producer: Milton Sperling
Director of Photography: Edward Cronjager
Production Companies: Twentieth Century Fox
Release Date: 31 October 1941
Running Time: 82 minutes
Genres: Drama, Thriller, Crime
Country: United States of America