Black Angel, The Movie (1946)

No author furnished more material for the classic film noir era than Cornell Woolrich. And none of his novels got a better straight noir adaptation than his 1943 classic The Black Angel. Universal’s 1946 movie version, Black Angel, (I don’t know why they lopped “The” from the title) is as quintessentially Woolrich as his adaptations get. Yes, Rear Window is a better movie, but it’s distinctly a “Hitchcock movie,” while Black Angel is 100% a “Woolrich movie” from the era he helped to define. Phantom Lady (1944) established what a Woolrich novel could be on screen; Black Angel (1946) is the full maturation of Woolrich film noir and is on my shortlist for the best of the style from the 1940s.

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Cornell Woolrich’s The Black Angel

In August I examined the influential film noir Phantom Lady, which was part of the 1944 wave of stylish crime films that established noir as the new mode of murder-dramas, even if the term film noir was still years from general use. Because Phantom Lady was adapted from a novel by Cornell Woolrich, the most important literary noir author and one of my personal favorite writers, I followed up with a post about the 1943 book. After that, it was impossible to stop me from moving forward to Woolrich’s next novel, which would also be turned into a classic film noir a few years later: The Black Angel.

The Black Angel was published in 1943, the same year as Phantom Lady. It’s the fifth novel from Woolrich’s “main period” (1934–1948), when he wrote the majority of his suspense fiction. It has a plot with similarities to Phantom Lady, but it also corrects a number of the errors of that book to create a more personal and desperate story with less need for a long explanation clogging up the last twenty pages. Woolrich took the Carol Richman chapters from Phantom Lady and imagined what a story about rescuing a man from Death Row might look like if told from her perspective. 

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A Nonfiction Writing Update

My writing life isn’t entirely focused on the arrival of Turn Over the Moon in November. Some shifts have occurred in my nonfiction work. Most of my recent nonfiction has been for this blog—and I wish I had more time to dedicate to making the stream of new articles into a steady one. But I do have some updates about my nonfiction articles; some is not new, but it is something I haven’t discussed until now.

In 2018, which was five hundred years ago as measured in pandemic time, I made the exciting announcement that I was writing articles for a new website, Perilous Worlds, the official web presence of the company that owns author Robert E. Howard’s characters, such as Conan and Solomon Kane. It was not only an important outlet, it was a paying outlet, something I’m not used to when it comes to my nonfiction. Thrilling news, and I launched into the assignment with the aim to write the finest, most professional, most entertaining articles I could.

The endeavor lasted six months. 

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Turn Over the Moon’s Kickstarter Pre-Launch Page Is Live!

We’re less than a month from the start of the official launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Turn Over the Moon, which begins on October 1st. The pre-launch page is now live, so head on over and hit the “Notify Me of Launch” button and you’ll receive notifications of when the campaign goes live.

Once the Kickstarter campaign starts, you can pledge money to the to pre-order digital and hardcover copies of Turn Over the Moon, as well as other books from Dream Tower Media and additional awards. (For a $35 pledge, you’ll receive a signed print copy, with my signature written in special blood-red ink!) Please share the link to the prelaunch page with anyone you know who is interested in supporting quality independent science-fiction fantasy and publishing.

A Cornell Woolrich Collection: After-Dinner Story (1944)

Much of Cornell Woolrich’s best suspense writing comes from his deep well of short stories and novellas. Numerous collections were published during his lifetime, most using the William Irish pseudonym, even though the stories first appeared in magazines under Woolrich’s name.

One of the most successful of these collections is After-Dinner Story, published by Lippincott in October 1944 when Woolrich’s popularity was rising because of the success of Phantom Lady. It went through numerous paperback editions after the initial hardcover release, sometimes with the alternate title Six Times Death. It was included in Lippincott’s 1960 hardcover omnibus The Best of William Irish along with Phantom Lady and Deadline at Dawn.

After-Dinner Story contains six stories, one never previously published: the title story (Black Mask, January 1938), “The Night Reveals” (Story, April 1936), “An Apple a Day” (first publication), “Marihuana” (Detective Fiction Weekly, 3 May 1941), “Murder Story” (Detective Fiction Weekly, 11 September 1937), and the first appearance of the story originally published as “It Had to Be Murder” (Dime Detective, February 1942) under its forever title “Rear Window.” Yes, that one.

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