Screaming Mimi (1958)

screaming mimi 1958

Fair adaption of sf-mystery author Fredric Brown’s 1949 book. An exotic dancer ends up in a sanatorium after almost being stabbed to death. Her psychiatrist becomes obsessed with her. One highlight of the movie is the performance by Gypsy Rose Lee as a nightclub owner. Music is by the Red Norvo Quartet.

Virginia Weston (Anita Ekberg) is visiting her stepbrother in Laguna Beach, California. After a swim she takes a shower in the outdoor bathhouse. An escaped maniac from the Highland Sanitarium tries to stab her. Her stepbrother grabs his rifle and kills him. Virginia ends up at Highland. Her doctor is Dr.Greenwood (Harry Townes). After seven months he signs the papers to get her out.

In the city she changes her name to Yolanda Lang and he’s now calling himself Green and saying he’s her manager. She gets a job as a dancer at El Madhouse owned by Joann “Gypsy” Masters (Gypsy Rose Lee). Yolanda does a dance number that’s real tame compared to just a few years later but it’s still attention getting.

Joann takes reporter Bill Sweeney (Philip Carey) backstage to meet her. He tries to flirt but Yolanda’s dog Devil isn’t happy with him. He picks up a small statue and Devil encourages him to put it down. Green isn’t happy with him either and Sweeney leaves. Later Yolanda takes her dog and leaves. She’s attacked and stabbed and neighbors get the cops.  Devil chased a criminal nicknamed The Ripper away. Yolanda is in the hospital and Sweeney visits.

Back at the paper he looks up the file on dancer Lola Lake. She was stabbed to death an  next to her body is the same statue Yolanda had.   Sweeney talks to Yolanda about the statue but she says she never had it.  He finds out where Lola bought it. It’s called “Screaming Mimi.” It was sculpted by Yolanda’s stepbrother and several copies were made.

Police Captain Bline holds a welcome back party at El Madhouse for Yolanda. He’s hoping The Ripper will turn up. Gypsy Rose Lee sings “Put The Blame On Mame” and Anita does another dance number.  Yolanda and Devil get past the cops and she walks back to where she was attacked. Sweeney gets an idea..actually several ideas.

The movie takes some twists and turns before it’s all over and it’s mildly interesting and worth a view on a slow night.

Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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