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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: cigar joe on July 13, 2012, 06:43:36 PM

Title: Screaming Mimi (1958)
Post by: cigar joe on July 13, 2012, 06:43:36 PM
Director: Gerd Oswald Writers: Robert Blees (screenplay), Fredric Brown (novel), Stars: Anita Ekberg, Philip Carey and Gypsy Rose Lee. A poor gutless adaptation of Fredric Brown's novel. Instead of a strip club with nudie cuties and bump & grind with a hint of bestiality, we get El Madhouse a sort of jazz/exotic nite club no naked Ekberg or Gypsy Rose Lee, Red Norvo on the vibraphone? for the band, no stripping, an atrocious version of "Put the Blame on Mame", and no dog act (anybody who read the novel will know what I'm talking about). Even the Screaming Mimi has clothes. but there is some stylistically Noir cinematography, but very dissapointing. 5/10 and a "0" on the peter meter.  >:D


Anyway bmacv is more lenient see below:

Late noir oddly recalls haunting cheapies of a decade earlier, 30 April 2002

Author: bmacv from Western New York
Somehow surmounting a creaky script rooted in some crackpot psychiatry, Screaming Mimi creates a somnambulistic, doom-laden mood that keeps you watching, bemused. And that's not easily explained.

The director, Gerd Oswald, was one of the lesser expatriates from Germany, a pedestrian workman who the year before helmed Crime of Passion, a jejune noir starring Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden and Raymond Burr; it's hard to extinguish the sizzle in that kind of cast, but Oswald did a pretty fair job of it.

In Screaming Mimi, he was saddled with the sort of rounded-up cast that doesn't incite box office stampedes. Anita Ekberg, - the Swedish bombshell with the storied bosom - proves oddly affecting in the numbed-out role she's called on to play. And society stripper Gypsy Rose Lee supplies a welcome bit of sass as proprietress of a nightclub called El Madhouse. But the male leads emerged from the La Brea tar pits of Hollywood anonymity. Philip Carey passes as sort of a poor man's Gary Merrill (that is to say, absolutely penniless), while Harry Townes, an even more faceless actor, makes up the roster.

The plot? Ekberg, an exotic `dancer' who writhes about suggestively in an act with bondage overtones, is visiting her sculptor-stepbrother on the California coast when she's almost knifed by an escapee from a nearby asylum, whom the brother promptly shoots dead. In consequence, Ekberg winds up in the selfsame asylum where her smitten shrink (Townes) arranges her release and, in a development reminiscent of The Blue Angel or Sunset Boulevard, leaves his post to manage her career (as `Yolanda Lang').

Then one night she's stabbed (again), but her vicious great dane wards off the attacker. Carey, a columnist whose curiously broad beat includes night clubs and crime in the night, grows intrigued, and stumbles onto the fact that both Ekberg and an earlier victim possessed strange statuettes called Screaming Mimis....

It's a jumble, all right, but it manages to hold some interest. A large part of the credit must, by default, fall to top-notch cinematographer Burnett Guffey, by far the most talented factor in the movie. (He films one scene in the light from a flashing neon sign, alternating between a two-shot and daringly long intervals of pitch blackness.) The movie shares a restive, oneiric quality with certain low-budget noirs from a decade earlier, that again compelled more attention than they deserved. Go figure.

Some screen caps:


Carey, Lee, Ekberg


Devil the dog in a much diminished role and Ekberg


Gypsy Rose Lee as daring as she gets doing "Mame"
Title: Re: Screaming Mimi (1958)
Post by: titoli on July 13, 2012, 09:35:16 PM
GRL ends the singing going out of tune: