In an email that looked surprisingly like a phishing attempt, I got the link to my proofs for the forthcoming collection on Cornell Woolrich. I get to jazz enthusiastically about Black Alibi, Leopard Man, Val Lewton and Ardel Wray so that’s fun. There’s not a whole lot of academic work on Woolrich (and some of it is rather oddly biased) so this should add a lot to the conversation.
Jaques Tourneur’s film allows Jean Brooks and Dennis O’Keefe to find fissures in their hard American carapaces, and the change of location from South America to New Mexico brings out a lot of the local folk horror resonances well. There’s a beautiful recurring image of a fountain that offers existential comfort.
The film doesn’t get the same love as some of Lewton’s other productions but it has so much to recommend it. Not to downplay Woolrich’s novel! The Grand Guignol touches he brings into a very chilling serial killer story are magnificent. So what I’m saying is read the book, watch the film — and then make sure to read this forthcoming collection from Edinburgh UP edited by Robert King.