Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Chandler on Woolrich

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 04 Feb 2008

--- Channing <> wrote:

> Of course many of these endings fly in the face of
> logic or
> believability, but usually the ending is so clever
> you don't care.
Being a Cornell Woolrich fan is like having a friend who comes to the party, gets drunk, eats spaghetti with his fingers, hits on every warm body and breaks a lamp before collapsing into a coma on the sofa on top of everybody's coats.

Yet, there's a deep and undeniable connection and you know your life would be less without the guy. Woolrich does things in his writing that would be a wall-banger in any other writer's hands. When the guy is paying attention, he produces some brilliant and ambitious work (Waltz into Darkness, for one) and that's what makes wandering through his faulty work worthwhile.

My favorite "Woolrich was there first" moment came at the end of Jean Luc Godard's Detective. An off-hand explanation at the end of a long and rambling film. The explanation came from a Woolrich story -- although as you point out, he may not have been the originator
-- and while it was a revelation in the story, it was almost a disappointment to the character in the film. Nice trick to play on an old trick.


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