Nightmare (1956)

  • Year: 1956
  • Released: 11 May 1956
  • Country: United States
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Approved
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
  • Runtime: 89 min
  • Writer: Cornell Woolrich, Maxwell Shane
  • Director: Maxwell Shane
  • Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Kevin McCarthy, Connie Russell
  • Keywords: nightmare, hypnosis, film noir, murder,
50% – Critics
50% – Audience

Nightmare Storyline

A musician has a nightmare in which he killed a man. When he wakes up he finds evidence that the crime really took place and tries to find the truth with the help of his brother-in-law who is a police officer.—Volker Boehm

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Nightmare Movie Reviews

good remake of “Fear in the Night”

I had a feeling of deja vu as I watched this, and I soon realized it was a remake of Fear in the Night, a 1947 film starring DeForrest Kelley.

This film stars Edward G. Robinson, Kevin McCarthy, Virginia Christine, Connie Russell.

A young New Orleans jazz musician Stan (McCarthy) dreams that he’s involved in a murder. He wakes up holding a button, a key, and he has blood on him. He’s convinced he committed murder without realizing it. He approaches his brother-in-law Rene (Robinson), a police detective, who brushes it off as a nightmare.

One day, while on a picnic, Stan, Rene, Rene’s wife (Christine) and Stan’s girlfriend Gina (Russell) are caught in a rainstorm. Without realizing how he knows, Stan directs them to a house. There’s a mirrored room as in his dream, and the key fits a closet.

Rene realizes that somehow Stan was involved and accuses him of lying and demanding to know the whole story. Stan swears it was all a dream, and he doesn’t know what happened. When the sheriff comes along and tells them there was a murder in the house, Rene wants more information, believing Stan is a killer.

Neat story by Cornell Woolrich, who wrote “Rear Window.” Edward G. Robinson is great as always as a man determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Kevin McCarthy, who worked until he died at 96, is adorable in this.

Some fantastic singing by Connie Russell — it’s worth watching the film just to hear her — in what would be her last film. After a long career on stage, films, and clubs on two continents, she retired when she became a mom.

Very entertaining. The end is wonderful, and really puts it a cut above “Fear in the Night.”

Scared to Death

Kevin McCarthy, a jazzman from New Orleans, has a nightmare. He dreams he was in a strange room and committed a murder, only to find out the next morning that there are clues he actually did it. Terrified, he goes to his brother-in-law (Edward G Robinson) to ask for help. Edward G doesn’t believe him at first, but soon the evidence begins to pile up. The rest is too good to reveal. Kevin McCarthy’s performance right on the heels of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is flawless – the terrified victim – again. Eddie G’s character as the cynical, hard boiled homicide dick is one of his best. The story riveted me from start to finish and director Maxwell Shane set just the right tone. Watch for the final scenes in the mirrored room. The atmosphere shots of New Orleans in the 50’s transports us back to another time. It’s a mystery – a drama – a thriller. Do not miss it.

Something lost in update, improvement on earlier movie

In the late 1940s, director Maxwell Shane made a very low budget psychological thriller called Fear in the Dark — about a man waking from a nightmare that he’s murdered a stranger, only to find it to be true. In 1956, Shane decided to remake it as Nightmare, with a name cast (Kevin McCarthy — Mary’s brother, for the record — as the luckless dreamer, Edward G. Robinson as his brother-in-law the homicide cop). It’s a very close remake, not as pointlessly literal as Gus Van Sant’s cloning of Psycho, but with little changed except a better and more integrated jazz score. In sum, Nightmare boasts better acting and better production values, all of which serve to point up the basic cheesiness of the plot. The earlier version, looking a lot like a nightmare itself, lends its own low-rent integrity to Cornell Woolrich’s bizarre vision.