Re: RARA-AVIS: Fright & Savage Bride

Date: 06 Feb 2008

I just started FRIGHT and among my first reactions was that it, at least so far, reads very much like a lot of the pulp stories that came out in the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, as I was reading the first few chapters of FRIGHT I found myself thinking back a few years to when I read Raoul Whitfield's GREEN ICE that originally came out in serialized form in BLACK MASK. What made the connection for me was the almost, but not quite, over the top prose that both authors apparently had a tendency to use, at least in these two stories. Even though they sometimes flirt, perhaps inadvertently, with self-parody, they managed to largely get away with pushing the envelope (in the above cases anyway). What I would be curious to know is, for either Woolrich or Whitfield, if this was intentional or merely a fortuitous turn of events that resulted from different forms of experimentation.

Best, Harry

Quoting Jeff Vorzimmer <>:

> As Richard pointed out, Woolrich's Fright and Savage Bride came out the same
> year, 1950, and though the stories themselves are very different, they both
> have the typical Woolrich theme. The Woolrich theme is that of a man, who
> believes he is in control of his life, but ultimately his fate is the hands
> of a woman or is determined by a series of events initiated by a woman that
> ultimately leads to the male protagonist's salvation, redemption,
> vindication, retribution or destruction. The male characters by contrast
> seem weak, petulant, obsessive and possessive and the women strong, stoic
> and reserved in a kind of role reversal. In his novels, especially these
> two, innocent bystanders get caught in the shrapnel of exploding lives and
> sometimes pay with there lives. There are also the implausible coincidences
> and twists of fate typical of Woolich that push the limits of credulity.
> I liked Savage Bride. I think once you get past the fact that the story is
> pulp adventure fiction, but not crime fiction and get into it for what it is
> rather than what it is not, you can enjoy the story. Just put some Martin
> Denny or Les Baxter on the stereo, mix yourself an exotic cocktail and enjoy
> it. That is if you can stand Woolrich's sniveling male characters. I think
> Savage Bride is the Woolrich theme on steroids, the theme pushed to it's
> limits. If female characters in his novels seem to be driven by more base
> instincts than the males, this novel then takes that idea to the ultimate
> manifestation--woman as savage.
> Jeff

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Feb 2008 EST