I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

81-82 mins | Film noir | 14 November 1941

Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Hot Spot . It was initially released as Hot Spot and was reviewed as such by some trade papers. HR news items noted that Twentieth Century-Fox executives were uncertain about which was better as a release title, and that Photoplay magazine editor Ernest Heyn contributed to their dilemma when he requested permission to run his serialization of the picture's story as I Wake Up Screaming . In Nov 1941, in Milwaukee, the studio held a "test run" of the picture as I Wake Up Screaming , instead of Hot Spot , to judge the box office reaction. When the film performed well, Steve Fisher's original title was retained. Notes of a 10 Jun 1941 conference with executive producer Darryl Zanuck, contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, indicates that the studio briefly considered changing the title to It Can't Happen to Me .
       According to HR news items and the Produced Scripts Collection, Jean Renoir was originally scheduled to direct the picture, which would have been his first in the United States, and George Raft was under consideration for the role of "Frankie Christopher." A 27 May 1941 HR news item noted that Rouben Mamoulian also considered directing the picture. The songs "Street Scene," "Over the Rainbow" and "Cornell Theme" are instrumental only, and are used as the theme music for the characters "Frankie Christopher," "Jill Lynn" and "Ed Cornell," respectively. Steve Fisher's novel was filmed again by Twentieth Century-Fox in ... More Less

The working title of this film was Hot Spot . It was initially released as Hot Spot and was reviewed as such by some trade papers. HR news items noted that Twentieth Century-Fox executives were uncertain about which was better as a release title, and that Photoplay magazine editor Ernest Heyn contributed to their dilemma when he requested permission to run his serialization of the picture's story as I Wake Up Screaming . In Nov 1941, in Milwaukee, the studio held a "test run" of the picture as I Wake Up Screaming , instead of Hot Spot , to judge the box office reaction. When the film performed well, Steve Fisher's original title was retained. Notes of a 10 Jun 1941 conference with executive producer Darryl Zanuck, contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, indicates that the studio briefly considered changing the title to It Can't Happen to Me .
       According to HR news items and the Produced Scripts Collection, Jean Renoir was originally scheduled to direct the picture, which would have been his first in the United States, and George Raft was under consideration for the role of "Frankie Christopher." A 27 May 1941 HR news item noted that Rouben Mamoulian also considered directing the picture. The songs "Street Scene," "Over the Rainbow" and "Cornell Theme" are instrumental only, and are used as the theme music for the characters "Frankie Christopher," "Jill Lynn" and "Ed Cornell," respectively. Steve Fisher's novel was filmed again by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953 as Vicki . That film was directed by Harry Horner and starred Jeanne Crain, Jean Peters, Elliott Reid and Richard Boone. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Oct 1941.
---
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1941.
---
Film Daily
17 Oct 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 41
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 41
p. 6.
Motion Picture Daily
17 oct 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Oct 41
p. 317.
New York News
17 Jan 1942.
---
New York Times
17 Jan 42
p. 13.
Variety
22 Oct 41
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel I Wake Up Screaming by Steve Fisher (New York, 1941).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Street Scene" by Alfred Newman
"Over the Rainbow," music by Harold Arlen
"Cornell Theme" by Cyril J. Mockridge.
SONGS
"The Things I Love," music and lyrics by Lewis Harris.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Hot Spot
Release Date:
14 November 1941
Production Date:
21 July--late August 1941
re-takes 5 September 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
31 October 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10895
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in feet):
7,372
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7647
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After beautiful Vicky Lynn is killed, New York City police question Frankie Christopher, a promoter who sponsored Vicky, "glamorized" her and got her jobs as a model. Especially tough on Frankie is obsessed inspector Ed Cornell, who has never failed to get his man. Jerry MacDonald, a more sympathetic policeman, asks Frankie to tell them how he met Vicky, and Frankie tells his story: One evening, Frankie goes with his friends, fading actor Robin Ray and newspaper columnist Larry Evans, to a lunchroom where Vicky works as a waitress. Impressed with her beauty and ambition, Frankie decides to remake her, take her to all the smart places and put her on top of the world. Soon after, Frankie takes her to the El Chico Club, where Robin and Larry help him to get her invited to the table of the socially influential Mrs. Handel. The first step accomplished, the evening ends with Vicky having been offered two modeling jobs. Vicky then returns home to the modest apartment she shares with her sister Jill, a stenographer. Jill and Vicky argue, for Jill maintains that nothing good can come of taking the easy road to success. After a whirlwind of publicity and offers, Vicky tells Frankie that she has taken a screen test and is going to Hollywood without him. Bitter about her betrayal, Frankie storms out of her apartment and commiserates with Robin and Larry, both of whom have fallen in love with Vicky. As Jill begins relating her side of the story, she informs the policemen that she does not believe that Frankie is guilty of killing her sister. She ... +


After beautiful Vicky Lynn is killed, New York City police question Frankie Christopher, a promoter who sponsored Vicky, "glamorized" her and got her jobs as a model. Especially tough on Frankie is obsessed inspector Ed Cornell, who has never failed to get his man. Jerry MacDonald, a more sympathetic policeman, asks Frankie to tell them how he met Vicky, and Frankie tells his story: One evening, Frankie goes with his friends, fading actor Robin Ray and newspaper columnist Larry Evans, to a lunchroom where Vicky works as a waitress. Impressed with her beauty and ambition, Frankie decides to remake her, take her to all the smart places and put her on top of the world. Soon after, Frankie takes her to the El Chico Club, where Robin and Larry help him to get her invited to the table of the socially influential Mrs. Handel. The first step accomplished, the evening ends with Vicky having been offered two modeling jobs. Vicky then returns home to the modest apartment she shares with her sister Jill, a stenographer. Jill and Vicky argue, for Jill maintains that nothing good can come of taking the easy road to success. After a whirlwind of publicity and offers, Vicky tells Frankie that she has taken a screen test and is going to Hollywood without him. Bitter about her betrayal, Frankie storms out of her apartment and commiserates with Robin and Larry, both of whom have fallen in love with Vicky. As Jill begins relating her side of the story, she informs the policemen that she does not believe that Frankie is guilty of killing her sister. She informs them that before Vicky met Frankie, a mysterious man stalked her, and when Cornell enters the interrogation room, Jill recognizes him as the man who was following Vicky. The police do not believe her story, but she and Frankie are nonetheless released when the assistant district attorney decides that Harry Williams, the switchboard operator at the hotel where Jill and Vicky lived, must be guilty because he has been missing since the murder. After a while, Jill returns to the hotel, where she learns that Harry has been questioned by the police and released because he said that he was visiting his parents. Cornell confronts Jill at her new apartment, accusing her of withholding evidence, and although Jill orders him to leave, she is indeed withholding an angry letter Frankie wrote to Vicky after he found out about her screen test. Determined to find out for herself if Frankie is her sister's killer, Jill spends the evening with him and has a marvelous time. She invites him to her apartment, where she is about to give him the letter when Cornell bursts in, takes the letter and handcuffs Frankie. Jill helps Frankie escape, and after they realize that they are in love, they decide to run away together the next day. After spending the night in an all-night movie theater, Frankie goes to get some money he has hidden in a safety deposit box, and while he is gone, Jill is arrested. Cornell convinces the police chief to free her in the hope that she will lead them to Frankie, but she eludes them and finds Frankie at the theater. They then trace a clue to Larry, who reveals that he took Vicky up to her apartment just before she was killed, and that Harry was not on duty at the switchboard when he left. Their suspicion aroused, Frankie and Jill plan to trap Harry into confessing, which he does. Harry, who was desperately in love with Vicky, also reveals that Cornell knows he killed Vicky, but let him go. MacDonald arrests Harry, while Frankie goes to Cornell's apartment. He is stunned to find that the walls are covered with photographs of Vicky, and on the mantle is a shrine to her. Cornell arrives and bitterly denounces Frankie for "glamorizing" Vicky and taking her away from him, for they had dated a few times and he was hoping to marry her. Cornell drinks poison, and soon the embittered, lonely detective is dead. Later, Frankie and Jill celebrate their marriage by going dancing. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.