CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

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Sweeney Todd
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by Sweeney Todd »

First of all, thank you for your welcome words, and sorry for the broken English.

In order to give an idea about how William Irish was treated in book reviews in this country, this extract, from the magazine "Le Point" by Jacques-Pierre Amette:

" An absolute masterpiece, a great poem, tragic and overwhelmed. It's Baudelaire published in the Série Noire."

(The "Série Noire" was, and remains, the most famous collection of "noir" books in this country, since the immediate post-war.)
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JackFavell
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by JackFavell »

I just read my very first Cornell Woolrich story! I had a hard time finding any of his books here at the library, and none were available on kindle when I last looked, but yesterday I found a set of four stories for a small price.

I read Eyes That Watch You.

I got up early this morning so I could have some extra time to read, and went through the story like a house afire. Breathtakingly simple, perfectly written. The story is about an elderly woman, paralyzed from the neck down, with no power to talk. She lives for only a few things, mainly to see the sun in the sky once a day, and to hear her son come home from work and greet her. One day, thinking company has come, she hears her daughter-in-law planning the murder of the husband/son. How will she ever save him when she has no power to move or speak? Surprising how much she accomplishes.

Gosh, it was marvelous, so satisfying, and it made me cry at the end so vivid was the picture in my mind of all the characters. Of course, in my mind's eye, the characters were all played by actors and actresses of classic film! The best part about it was the internal voice of the speechless lady. Loved it. It's the first noirish crime drama I've ever read that was actually heartwarming! Highly recommended. A WONDERFUL book.
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MissGoddess
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by MissGoddess »

Your description of that scenario reminded me of Henry B. Walthall's paralyzed character in Raoul Walsh's ME AND MY GAL!
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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JackFavell
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by JackFavell »

Gasp! That's right! I forgot that one! A perfect comparison.

Oh I loved him in that movie. I really like Henry B. Walthall, especially some of his later characters, men who've been broken, like in Devil Doll, Tale of Two Cities, etc. He's got such sad, weak, expressive eyes.
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MissGoddess
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by MissGoddess »

Yes, he has gravitas. I love him in Judge Priest.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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JackFavell
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by JackFavell »

Oh yes, He's the minister isn't he? He's a good foil for Will Rogers, they are not anything alike but they both have an air of goodness about them.
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ChiO
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by ChiO »

A long time dream started to manifest itself last night. The first meeting of a class I've had bouncing about in my noggin for years: First You Dream, Then You Die: Films Adapted from Cornell Woolrich Fiction.

First up was THE LEOPARD MAN, and it was enjoyed by all. The post-screening discussion focused on Guilt. Who was guilty? Soon every character, and the reason for each, was named...except one: the leopard. Why isn't the leopard guilty, asks I. It can't control itself; it's acting naturally; it's just being a leopard. How is that different than all of the other characters? And what about the sheriff -- the institutional authority -- telling everyone he sees that they are not guilty? Much more discussion with an airtight conclusion: everyone is guilty and nobody is guilty.

Welcome to the Woolrich Universe.

Next up: PHANTOM LADY.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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CineMaven
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by CineMaven »

C0NGRATULATIONS CHIO!!!

Good for you for getting that class off the ground. How long is the class? You show a film and then have a discussion, is that right? Are you teaching college level...is it an adult education class for fun? How did you get that gig? When and where do you give it? What's the syllabus?

( Hmmm, I wonder if I can audit...is it still snowing in Chicago...teacher's pet, I just wanna be a tea---)
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
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JackFavell
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by JackFavell »

everyone is guilty and nobody is guilty.

Oh my god I want to audit.
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ChiO
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by ChiO »

It's a Continuing Ed class at an area community college (part of the Chicago Community College system). Six weeks, one night a week. Syllabus? Oy! There's a class description in the catalog. Then I have a two-pager each class with a short non-spoiler description of the movie, bio of the director, bio of of any the noteworthy crew (somehow the cinematographer usually makes the grade), a list of the cast with three or four other movies they've appeared in that members may be familiar with, and four or five "considerations" (quasi-vague hints of things to notice that may prompt post-screening discussion). At the last class, I hand out a filmography and, sometimes, a DVD with an out-of-print movie. For this class, I also provided a Cornell Woolrich timeline.

We start with a 10-20 minute intro (again, without spoilers) to set the stage, then screen the film, then discuss. 2-1/2 hours, so I try to avoid longer movies, and because the classroom is not raked, I unfortunately avoid subtitled movies (I was planning an Ophuls class, but decided to nix it).

This is class #4 and I'm averaging 20-25 registrants, with an age range of late-teens to 70s. The 3 other classes were: "Westerns: Beyond the Myth" (or, as I referred to it, "The John Ford-John Wayne Free Zone" -- showed CANYON PASSAGE, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, JOHNNY GUITAR, FORTY GUNS, SILVER LODE & DAY OF THE OUTLAW); "Between Classic & Neo-: Noir of the '60s" (BLAST OF SILENCE, THE KILLERS, UNDERWORLD, U.S.A., BRAINSTORM, THE MONEY TRAP & POINT BLANK); "From the Music Hall to the Holy Grail: English Comic Actors" (CHUMPS AT OXFORD, THE TALK OF THE TOWN, MONSIEUR VERDOUX, THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT, HEAVENS ABOVE! & BEDAZZLED). I sometimes also show related clips -- an early Laurel short, Chaplin's first screen appearance, opening sequence of Siodmak's THE KILLERS, etc. This term I'm also teaching at a large suburban H.S.'s Adult Ed program for 4 weeks -- an abridged version of the '60s Noir class.

How did I get the gig? Fate. When I retired 10 years ago, my spousal unit was thumbing through a Wright College Continuing Ed. catalog (she received them because she got her Associate's Degree there in the '60s, which led to her BA, MA & JD and being a loud proponent of the community college system). Hey, don't you like Martin Scorsese? There's a class on him. Get out of the house! So, I went. And to the next one. And next one. (repeating) The Prof (an English professor at Wright) and I became friends and drinking associates. After the second class or so, I also started taking classes at Facets Multimedia. It got to a point of taking 1-2 classes somewhere year round. And I became friends with three of the Facets instructors. Plus, of course, watching TCM constantly, renting from Facets, yakking here, and always reading reading reading. Then, in the Spring of 2011, the Wright Prof calls me and asks if I'd take over the class because he'd just been put in charge of a new curriculum and didn't have the time. So, I submitted an application, which required 5 letters of recommendation (apparently to establish that, yes, I had watched a movie at some point in my life). He, of course, submitted one; three from the Facets instructors; and one from the Capo da Capo, Dewey. Voila!

Now, next time, please raise your hand.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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CineMaven
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by CineMaven »

My hand was raised.

That was Wendy who just shouted out...And came to class late...And is looking at my paper. And


( Class sounds like fun Professor ChiO. If you do Giallo, I swear... )
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
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ChiO
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by ChiO »

No Giallo. One pushes only so many envelopes. (Not to mention my own tender sensitivities.) Other, unfortunately, unlikely classes: Black & Blue & Nude: The Films of Doris Wishman and Saint of the Underground, Madman of the Method: The Films of Timothy Carey. (Well...maybe that last one.)
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
RedRiver
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by RedRiver »

I want somebody to make a movie about Woolrich. I'd like to see the word BLACK in the title. If not that, maybe they could use yours! FIRST YOU DREAM, THEN YOU DIE.
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ChiO
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by ChiO »

Credit must be given to Mr. Woolrich for "First You Dream, Then You Die." Francis Nevins then used it as the title of his biography of Woolrich. It is catchy, isn't it? Captures all of the Freudian and existential elements of noir in one snappy little phrase.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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JackFavell
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Re: CORNELL WOOLRICH : King of Noir

Post by JackFavell »

Hey, Mave! Don't throw ME under the bus...

I love that title. It totally encapsulates noir, but especially the qualities in Woolrich's work.
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