Saturday, May 26, 2007

I Wake Up Screaming!

A 1941 movie with murder, obsession, ambiguous characters with hidden motives, Elisha Cook Jr., a flashback narrative structure, and shots like these:

And it was made at practically the same time as The Maltese Falcon. Was this Betty Grable/Victor Mature vehicle from Fox more "noir" than the so-called "First Film Noir"??? Well, the happy love story stuck in the middle of the all the creepy dark stuff seems to say "no" (and who knew that "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" could get more play in this movie than in Wizard of Oz!). But wait for the end (sorry, no spoilers here) and tell me that doesn't seem as twisted as anything from the traditional Noir catalogue. Also, stylistically, it looks way more Noir than Falcon.


Joe Valdez said...

Fantastic blog, Derelict. You and LeaJo have given me hours of viewing to squander my potential with. I'm digging it.

I've never been able to figure out the appeal of The Maltese Falcon, but you definitely piqued my curiosity to check I Wake Up Screaming out. Those screen grabs are bananas!

Keep up the good stuff.

The Derelict said...

Thanks Joe! Since you're not a Maltese Falcon kinda guy you might want to check out this earlier post (not to toot our own horn or anything! ;)). I rented I Wake Up Screaming because I read somewhere the DVD commentary track was good, but I wasn't prepared for such a noir-looking noir, especially one from 1941. And I have to say, Victor Mature, who didn't think much of his own talent, acted a pretty good part in it (though the real standout performance goes to Laird Cregar).

And can you tell I'm having way too much fun with screen grabs lately?! I think I might be going a little overboard, with more pictures than written text, but I don't care!

Joe Valdez said...

Great post, Derelict! LeaJo sort of reminds me of when I was dating a girl I really liked and she wanted me to watch The Sound of Music with her. Yeah, you can love a person, but loving their movies is another matter.

Check out what I had to say about The Maltese Falcon over at This Distracted Globe when you get the chance.

The Derelict said...

Will do, joe! And ain't that the truth about other people's movies. I remember finding out my cousin's and his wife's favorite movie was that awful Juliette Lewis/Giovanni Ribisi "comedy" The Other Sister -- I almost had to disown him when I heard that one!