|Directed by||Maxwell Shane|
|Produced by||Howard Pine|
William C. Thomas
|Screenplay by||Maxwell Shane|
|Based on||And So to Death|
by Cornell Woolrich
|Starring||Edward G. Robinson|
|Music by||Herschel Burke Gilbert|
|Cinematography||Joseph F. Biroc|
|Edited by||George A. Gittens|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
The story is based on a novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich). The book also became a 1947 film, Fear in the Night, made by the same writer-director . Nightmare had been the original title of Fear in the Night.
New Orleans big band clarinetist Stan Grayson (Kevin McCarthy) has a nightmare in which he sees himself in a mirrored room, killing a man, while in the background, haunting dirge-like music plays. He awakens to find blood on himself, bruises on his neck, and a key from the dream in his hand.
Grayson goes to his brother-in-law, police detective Rene Bressard (Edward G. Robinson), about the problem but is dismissed. Later, the two men go on a picnic in the country with Grayson's girlfriend and sister. Grayson leads them to an empty house, the house of his dream, when it begins to rain. They find a record player, switch it on, and a catchy jazzy tune begins to play. While dancing, Grayson's girlfriend bumps into the record player, changing the speed. Slowed down, the dance music becomes the tune from the nightmare. They are then shocked to see that the house has a mirrored room just like in Grayson's dream. After it is found out that a murder did indeed take place, Grayson becomes Bressard's number one suspect.
Grayson, stressed out and suicidal, protests his innocence, which makes Bressard dig deeper. That leads to them finding out about a hypnotist living in Grayson's building who apparently set up the musician for murder. Bressard now has to prove that although Grayson committed the murder, he was acting against his will.
- Edward G. Robinson as Rene Bressard
- Kevin McCarthy as Stan Grayson
- Connie Russell as Gina, Stan's Girl
- Virginia Christine as Mrs. Sue Bressard
- Rhys Williams as Deputy Torrence
- Gage Clarke as Harry Britten
- Marian Carr as Madge Novick
- Barry Atwater as Capt. Warner
- Meade Lux Lewis as Meade
- Billy May and His Orchestra as Themselves
The film was the first production of Pine-Thomas-Shane Productions, a new iteration of Pine-Thomas Productions. Pine-Thomas had been based at Paramount from 1940 to 1954. They made a contract with United Artists, but William H. Pine died. The company was renamed Pine-Thomas-Shane to reflect the contribution of long-time screenwriter Maxwell Shane; the "Pine" was Howard Pine, William Pine's son. The film was meant to be the first of three films PTS would make for United Artists, the others being Lincoln McEever and The Mountain Has No Shadow.
Even though Robinson was not the hypnotist in the film, he was promoted as such in the film's movie posters.
Filming started 31 October 1955.
- Nightmare at IMDb.
- NIGHTMARE Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 23, Iss. 264, (Jan 1, 1956): 78.
- LESSER WILL STAR EDWARD ROBINSON New York Times 11 Apr 1946: 34.
- Drama: Simmons Music Career to Speed in 'Les Girls Los Angeles Times 21 Oct 1955: B9.
- Variety. 16 November 1955 https://archive.org/stream/variety200-1955-11#page/n167/mode/1up/search/%22pine-thomas-shane%22. Missing or empty
- 'Nightmare' Is Presented at the Palace New York Times 12 May 1956: 28.
- Naish Leads Rebel Gang in Western Los Angeles Times 2 Aug 1956: B9.