Jacques Tourneur

The Cinema of Nightfall


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About the Book

At least three of director Jacques Tourneur’s films—Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man—are recognized as horror classics. Yet his contributions to these films are often minimized by scholars, with most of the credit going to the films’ producer, Val Lewton. A detailed examination of the director’s full body of work reveals that those elements most evident in the Tourneur-Lewton collaborations—the lack of monsters and the stylized use of suggested violence—are equally apparent in Tourneur’s films before and after his work with Lewton. Mystery and sensuality were hallmarks of his style, and he possessed a highly artistic visual and aural style. This insightful critical study examines each of Tourneur’s films, as well as his extensive work on MGM shorts (1936–1942) and in television. What emerges is evidence of a highly coherent directorial style that runs throughout Tourneur’s works.

About the Author(s)

Chris Fujiwara is a freelance writer. He lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Bibliographic Details

Chris Fujiwara

Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 340
Bibliographic Info: 53 photos, notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6611-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0811-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Foreword     xi
Introduction     1

Maurice Tourneur      13
Jacques Tourneur: I      20
Jacques Tourneur: II     24
French Films (1931–1934)     32
Second-Unit Work (1934–1938)      36
MGM Shorts (1936–1942)      39
They All Come Out (1939)      60
The Nick Carter Films: Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) and Phantom Raiders (1940)     64
Doctors Don’t Tell (1941)     70
Cat People (1942)     72
I Walked with a Zombie (1943)     85
The Leopard Man (1943)     98
Days of Glory (1944)      108
Experiment Perilous (1944)      112
“Reward Unlimited” (1944)     123
Canyon Passage (1946)     125
Out of the Past (1947)     138
Berlin Express (1948)     150
Easy Living (1949)      158
Stars in My Crown (1950)     164
The Flame and the Arrow (1950)      177
Circle of Danger (1951)     183
Anne of the Indies (1951)      189
Way of a Gaucho (1952)     198
Appointment in Honduras (1953)     209
Stranger on Horseback (1955)     218
Wichita (1955)     221
Great Day in the Morning (1956)     229
Nightfall (1957)     235
Night of the Demon (1957)      242
The Fearmakers (1958)      256
Timbuktu (1959)     262
La Battaglia di Maratona (1959)      267
The AIP Films: The Comedy of Terrors (1963) and War-Gods of the Deep (1965)     270
Television Films      276

Afterword     289
Notes     291
Filmography of Jacques Tourneur     301
Bibliography     319
Index     323

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “interesting…important”—Public Library Quarterly
  • “this intelligent, thorough study must be considered as definitive”—SFRA Review
  • “excellent”—San Francisco Examiner Magazine; “comprehensive study…thoughtful, meticulously researched study…highly readable”—Film & Film Culture
  • “a valuable examination of one of Hollywood’s most neglected talents”—Film Review
  • “a worthy, well-written and -researched tribute”—Bright Lights Film Journal
  • “perceptive, impeccably-documented…the author elaborates…with an ease and command of critical language that makes every page diverting”—RetroVision
  • “Tourneur’s place in film history cannot be overexaggerated…excellently written foreword by none other than Martin Scorsese. The biographical section of the book is riveting in its detail…horror film fans will be most interested in Fujiwara’s analysis…obviously essential for a Tourneur fan…thorough, unique, and perceptive”—Monsters from the Vault
  • “the first in-depth exploration of Tourneur’s entire career…detailed…informative…immensely readable…insightful…comprehensive…essential…well researched”—Cult Movies
  • “combines a fan’s enthusiasm with a scholar’s rigour…thoroughly researched and perceptive”—Rue Morgue
  • “immensely readable…fascinating account of the Cat People auteur’s life, work and unique approach to filmmaking”—VideoScope
  • “wise, well-written and invaluable”—Shock Cinema; “fascinating…informative”—Mad About Movies; “a lot of work went into this book…and it shows”—Classic Images
  • “everything by the underappreciated French born director is covered”—Psychotronic
  • “comprehensive”—AB Bookman’s Weekly
  • “the first real look at Tourneur’s career…very interesting”—Little Shoppe of Horrors