The Bride Wore Black (The Novel 1940 - The Film 1968)

To the left: US Ballantine Books 1984 pocket book edition; to the right: MGM DVD edition

Text below written 2020-03-05


Cornell Woolrich (Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich) 1903-1968 is my favourite among all crime fiction writers and often both melodramatic
and with a tortured soul he was the author that best embodied the Color Black in litterature. Swedish crime fiction expert Jan Broberg sees
Woolrich as the big romanticist of the thriller genre and only compared to Edgar Allan Poe - The Poe of the 1900's.
His biographer Francis M. Nevins
calls him "The Poet of the Shadows - Mörkrets poet".

He's something of a writers writer and he was gigantic within his genre already during his lifetime, and he has become one of the most
filmatized of all authors of crime from the Pulp Fiction 1930-1940's era. Some of the films could be mentioned, as:

The Leopard Man (Jaques Torneur 1943), Phantom Lady (Robert Siodmak 1944), Deadline at Dawn, The Black Angel och The
Chase (1946), Fear in the Night och Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), The Window (1949), Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock,1954),
The Bride Wore Black och Mississippi Mermaid (Francois Truffaut, 1968-69), Seven Blood Stained Orchids (Umberto Lenzi 1972).

Swedish Gebers 1964 pocket book edition (ist Swedish edition 1948)

The Bride Wore Black (1940) was Woolrich's first novel in his Black Series and is today probably his most famous work, perhaps
along with his story Rear Window, filmatized by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954 with James Stewart in the main role.
It's structured around an effective theme of Revenge where an ice-cold killer with a chameleon's ability to blend in in different surroundings
methodically bumps off the chosen victims. What is the pattern, what is the motive for revenge? Will the police find the connection back
in time? In his 1948 novel Rendezvous in Black Woolrich used a variation on the same plot but changed the sex of the killer.

Novels in the "Black Series" were The Bride Wore Black 1940, The Black Curtain 1941, Black Alibi 1942, The Black Angel 1943, The Black Path of
Fear 1944 and Rendezvous in Black 1948.

La Mariée était en noir (1968)

Is a fine 1968 film version by french director Francois Truffaut, a big fan of Woolrich and the year after in 1969 Truffaut filmatizised the bizarre but
hauntingly poetic 1947 novel "Waltz into Darkness" (swedish title: Ljuvliga Bonny, Farliga Bonny, 1947 Centrum) in " La Sirène du Mississippi ".
Jeanne Moreau plays the avenging widow Julie Kohler who takes on a group of unknowing men and murder them one after another.
Mr. Bliss, Mr. Coral, Mr. Morene, Mr. Delvaux and Mr. Fergus. Will anyone survive the slaughter and what's the motive, if there's one?

OK, the film is from the late 1960's and color so that unique black & white Film Noir atmosphere of the 1940-1950's films may not be present that
much, and certainly not Woolrich's dark and romantic poetry, but the film is fine and Truffaut modernized the plot and the settings of the novel
and he also did some changes regarding the revenge motive and he flipped the ending twist

 

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