Screaming Mimi (1958)

79 mins | Drama | April 1958

Director:

Gerd Oswald

Writer:

Robert Blees

Cinematographer:

Burnett Guffey

Production Designer:

Cary Odell

Production Company:

Sage Western Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Although a published list of onscreen credits in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library contains the following acknowledgment: "Scenes at Carrillo Beach through the courtesy of California Department of Natural Resources, division of Beaches and Parks," that acknowledgment was not on the viewed print. The last names of "Virginia" and "Charlie" are listed as "Wilson" in the Var , but the name is "Weston" in the film's dialogue.
       The Var review notes that the film takes place in San Francisco, but the sets are not modeled on the Victorian architecture characteristic of San Francisco. Although an Oct 1957 HR news item states that screenwriter Robert Blees was to write lyrics for the film's theme song "Mimi," that song was not in the viewed print. The HR review states that the film was shot in CinemaScope, but the onscreen credits make no mention of the widescreen process, nor does any other review. ... More Less

Although a published list of onscreen credits in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library contains the following acknowledgment: "Scenes at Carrillo Beach through the courtesy of California Department of Natural Resources, division of Beaches and Parks," that acknowledgment was not on the viewed print. The last names of "Virginia" and "Charlie" are listed as "Wilson" in the Var , but the name is "Weston" in the film's dialogue.
       The Var review notes that the film takes place in San Francisco, but the sets are not modeled on the Victorian architecture characteristic of San Francisco. Although an Oct 1957 HR news item states that screenwriter Robert Blees was to write lyrics for the film's theme song "Mimi," that song was not in the viewed print. The HR review states that the film was shot in CinemaScope, but the onscreen credits make no mention of the widescreen process, nor does any other review. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Mar 1958.
---
Daily Variety
14 Mar 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Mar 58
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1957
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Mar 58
p. 773.
New York Times
26 Jun 58
p. 23.
Variety
19 Mar 58
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec supv
DANCE
Choreog
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Asst to the prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown (New York, 1949).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Put the Blame on Mame," words and music by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher.
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1958
Production Date:
16 September--9 October 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 April 1958
Copyright Number:
LP10328
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18904
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Laguna Beach, California, Virginia Weston runs to a bathhouse after a swim in the ocean. As her little dog starts yapping, an escaped inmate from a nearby mental institution steps out of the bushes, stabs the dog and then attacks Virginia. Alerted by Virginia’s hysterical screams, her half brother, sculptor Charlie Weston, runs onto the front porch of his house and shoots the assailant. Charlie then drives Virginia, who is suffering from traumatic shock, to the Highland Sanitarium, where he commits her to the care of Dr. Greenwood. Over the next six months, Virginia falls under Greenwood’s control and he becomes increasingly possessive of his voluptuous blonde patient. A short time later, Greenwood decides the time has come for them to leave the sanitarium, and they move to the city, where Virginia changes her name to Yolanda Lange and finds work as an exotic dancer at the El Madhouse nightclub. One night, Bill Sweeney, a reporter who covers the nightclub circuit for the local newspaper, comes to El Madhouse and is mesmerized by Virginia’s sensuous dancing. After Virginia finishes her performance, Joann Mapes, the nightclub’s proprietor, takes Bill backstage to meet her new star dancer. As Bill flirts with Virginia in her dressing room, he becomes intrigued by the nude statue of a frightened woman that he spots on her dressing table. Greenwood, now posing as Green, Virginia’s manager, enters and after gruffly dismissing Bill, admonishes Virginia to follow his orders. On a dark street later that night, Virginia is attacked by a knife-wielding assailant. Before her Great Dane, Devil, can drive the assailant away, the man slashes ... +


In Laguna Beach, California, Virginia Weston runs to a bathhouse after a swim in the ocean. As her little dog starts yapping, an escaped inmate from a nearby mental institution steps out of the bushes, stabs the dog and then attacks Virginia. Alerted by Virginia’s hysterical screams, her half brother, sculptor Charlie Weston, runs onto the front porch of his house and shoots the assailant. Charlie then drives Virginia, who is suffering from traumatic shock, to the Highland Sanitarium, where he commits her to the care of Dr. Greenwood. Over the next six months, Virginia falls under Greenwood’s control and he becomes increasingly possessive of his voluptuous blonde patient. A short time later, Greenwood decides the time has come for them to leave the sanitarium, and they move to the city, where Virginia changes her name to Yolanda Lange and finds work as an exotic dancer at the El Madhouse nightclub. One night, Bill Sweeney, a reporter who covers the nightclub circuit for the local newspaper, comes to El Madhouse and is mesmerized by Virginia’s sensuous dancing. After Virginia finishes her performance, Joann Mapes, the nightclub’s proprietor, takes Bill backstage to meet her new star dancer. As Bill flirts with Virginia in her dressing room, he becomes intrigued by the nude statue of a frightened woman that he spots on her dressing table. Greenwood, now posing as Green, Virginia’s manager, enters and after gruffly dismissing Bill, admonishes Virginia to follow his orders. On a dark street later that night, Virginia is attacked by a knife-wielding assailant. Before her Great Dane, Devil, can drive the assailant away, the man slashes Virginia across her stomach. After Virginia is taken to the hospital, Bill goes to the newsroom to review the file of Lola Lake, a dancer recently killed by “The Slasher.” As Bill studies the article and accompanying photo, he is startled to see the statue of a nude, frightened woman lying next to Lola’s body. When Bill goes to the hospital to question Virginia about the statue in her dressing room, she denies that it was ever there. Afterward, Bill discovers that Lola bought the statue at a gift shop owned by Raoul Reynarde. There, Raoul tells Bill that the statue is called “Screaming Mimi” and was created by a sculptor named Charlie Weston. After Bill buys Raoul’s last statue, he sneaks into Virginia’s dressing room and finds that her copy of the statue is gone. Once Virginia recovers, Capt. Bline, the officer in charge of the investigation into her attack, gives a party in her honor at El Madhouse, hoping that Virginia might be able to identify her assailant among the partygoers. Virginia never comes to the party, however, and instead walks Devil along the street of her attack. Sensing that Virginia would return there, Bill follows and meets her. After they passionately embrace, Bill takes Virginia back to his apartment, and as they make love, Virginia declares that he makes her feel “like a full person.” The next morning, when Virginia awakens from a nightmare, Bill urges her to leave Greenwood and arranges to meet her at Virginia’s apartment in one hour. When Bill arrives, however, Greenwood is there and Virginia, now cold and distant, insists on staying with him. After Bill storms out, Greenwood warns Virginia that she is "nothing" without him. Soon after, Bill receives a telegram from Charlie responding to his inquiry about the statue. Posing as an art dealer, Bill visits Charlie in Laguna Beach and learns that he modeled Mimi on his sister Virginia. Charlie explains that, just as he was beginning to sculpt the statue, Virginia was attacked and he was forced to commit her. Several months later, he received a letter from the sanitarium notifying him of his sister’s death. Upon returning to the newspaper, Bill tells his editor, Walter Krieg, that he believes there is a link between Mimi and the slasher. Hoping that someone might be able to identify the statue stolen from Virginia’s dressing room, Bill asks Walter to run a picture of it in the paper. After the police tap Virginia’s phones, Bline and Bill listen in from the basement of her apartment building. Soon after, Greenwood calls from the lobby to see Virginia. Once inside her apartment, Greenwood chastises Virginia for keeping the statue, which he describes as “the fetish on which she has fixed her mania.” Greenwood contends that because Virginia saw the statue right after her attack, she associated it with the attacker and then became fixated on those aggressive feelings, ultimately killing Lola after she bought a copy of the statue. Greenwood then explains that he attacked Virginia the night she met Bill in hopes of reversing her fixation. When Greenwood rifles through Virginia’s drawer and finds her copy of the statue, she becomes enraged and commands Devil to attack him. Devil then lunges at Greenwood, sending him crashing though a window and onto the street below. As Bline, Bill and several police officers rush to the mortally injured Greenwood, Greenwood lies that he killed Lola, then beseeches Bill to take care of Virginia. Meanwhile, Virginia has slipped out of her apartment with Devil, and Bill tracks her to a run-down hotel on skid row. There, Bill states that he knows her real name is Virginia Weston and that she killed Lola. Just as Virginia sics Devil on Bill, the police arrive and subdue the dog. Virginia, now in a trance-like state, is led away into a waiting ambulance. +

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

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