Nightmare | Chicago Reader

Nightmare

Edward G. Robinson carries this rather stilted 1956 mystery about a New Orleans jazz clarinetist (Kevin McCarthy) who dreams he's killing a man in a room full of mirrors, wakes to find evidence of the murder on his body, and confides in his sister's husband (Robinson), a shrewd but kindly homicide detective. The opening dream sequence is a small masterpiece of florid pulp, with disembodied heads floating in a black field and images breaking up like shattered glass, and later in the picture there's a cool montage of New Orleans neon. Pop fanatics may want to check this out for its three swinging numbers by bandleader Billy May, who arranged many of Sinatra's greatest records and whose leaden line readings prove he chose the right career. Writer-director Maxwell Shane adapted a novel by Cornell Woolrich, which he'd already shot in 1947 as Fear in the Night. 89 min.

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