Cornell Woolrich from Pulp Noir to Film Noir

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About the Book

Extremely popular and prolific in the 1930s and 1940s, Cornell Woolrich still has diehard fans who thrive on his densely packed descriptions and his spellbinding premises. A contemporary of Hammett and Chandler, he competed with them for notoriety in the pulps and became the single most adapted writer for films of the noir period. Perhaps the most famous film adaptation of a Woolrich story is Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). Even today, his work is still onscreen; Michael Cristofer’s Original Sin (2001) is based on one of his tales.
This book offers a detailed analysis of many of Woolrich’s novels and short stories; examines films adapted from these works; and shows how Woolrich’s techniques and themes influenced the noir genre. Twenty-two stories and 30 films compose the bulk of the study, though many other additions of films noirs are also considered because of their relevance to Woolrich’s plots, themes and characters. The introduction includes a biographical sketch of Woolrich and his relationship to the noir era, and the book is illustrated with stills from Woolrich’s noir classics.

About the Author(s)

Thomas C. Renzi is an administrator and instructor at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas C. Renzi
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 368
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2351-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8281-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

Introduction      3

“The Corpse Next Door” (January 23, 1937)      25

Union City (1979)      27

“Face Work” (October 1937)      31

Convicted (1938)      34

“I’m Dangerous Tonight” (November 1937)      39

I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990)      42

“I Wouldn’t Be in Your Shoes” (March 12, 1938)      47

I Wouldn’t Be in Your Shoes (1948)      51

“All at Once, No Alice” (March 20, 1940)      57

The Return of the Whistler (1948)      60

“C-Jag” (October 1940)      67

Fall Guy (1947)      71

The Bride Wore Black (1940)      78

The Bride Wore Black (1967)      84

“He Looked Like Murder” (February 8, 1941)      93

The Guilty (1947)      97

“Nightmare” (March 1941)      107

Fear in the Night (1947)      114

Nightmare (1956)      122

The Black Curtain (1941)      130

Street of Chance (1942)      134

“Rear Window” (February 1942)      143

Rear Window (1954)      150

Rear Window (Television, 1998)      170

Black Alibi (1942)      175

The Leopard Man (1943)      179

“Dormant Account” (May 1942)      190

The Mark of the Whistler (1944)      196

Phantom Lady (1942)      200

Phantom Lady (1944)      205

The Black Angel (1943)      213

Black Angel (1946)      219

Deadline at Dawn (1944)      230

Deadline at Dawn (1946)      234

The Black Path of Fear (1944)      242

The Chase (1946)      249

Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1945)      261

Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)      266

Waltz into Darkness (1947)      276

Mississippi Mermaid (1969)      285

Original Sin (2001)      295

“The Boy Cried Murder” (March 1947)      303

The Window (1949)      307

The Boy Cried Murder (1966)      318

Cloak & Dagger (1984)      322

I Married a Dead Man (1948)      324

No Man of Her Own (1950)      328

J’ai épousé une ombre (1982)      337

Mrs. Winterbourne (1996)      340

She’s No Angel (Television, 2003)      343

“For the Rest of Her Life” (May 1968)      345

Martha (German television, 1973)      349

Bibliography      355

Index      359

Book Reviews & Awards

“this volume is tops, and it is my hope that Thomas C. Renzi writes more of the same…excellent…intelligent and interesting reading…a meticulous evaluation of the films and the author proves that he really knows his noir and Woolrich. Highly recommended”—Classic Images; “in-depth examination…detailed analysis…‘must-read’…excellent…meticulously researched…highly readable…recommended”—Midwest Book Review.