Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NIGHTMARE


NIGHTMARE (1956). Director: Maxwell Shane.

Stan (Kevin McCarthy) is a jazz musician who has a vivid nightmare in which he murders a man in a room full of mirrors. When he wakes up he's convinced that the event actually happened and there's blood on his hands. He takes his story to his brother-in-law Rene (Edward G. Robinson), a homicide detective, but the cop thinks he's making too much of a particularly disturbing dream. Or is he? Although based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich, Nightmare meanders along without much suspense, and becomes increasingly ridiculous. McCarthy's okay performance occasionally lacks the proper intensity, considering the situation he finds himself in. Virginia Christine of “Mrs. Olsen” coffee fame and The Mummy's Curse plays McCarthy's sister. She also appeared with McCarthy in the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers as Wilma. Oddly, the picture is at its most boring when it's supposed to be at its most exciting. You're always three steps ahead of the characters. Connie Russell gets to deliver an interesting number as Stan's singer girlfriend, Gina.

Verdict: This one may not put you to sleep, but almost. *1/2.

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