Quote of the Day #2

***
“The summer nights are so pleasant in Caulfield. They smell of heliotrope and jasmine, honeysuckle and clover. The stars are warm and friendly here, not cold and distant, as where I came from; they seem to hang lower over us, be closer to us. The breeze that stirs the curtains at the open windows is soft and gentle as a baby’s kiss. And on it, if you listen, you can hear the rustling sound of the leafy trees turning over and going back to sleep again. The lamplight from within the houses falls upon the lawns outside and copperplates them in long swaths. There’s the hush, the stillness of perfect peace and security. Oh, yes, the summer nights are pleasant in Caulfield.
*
But not for us.
*
The winter nights are too. The nights of fall, the nights of spring. Not for us, not for us.
*
The house we live in is so pleasant in Caulfield. The blue-green tint of its lawn, that always seems so freshly watered no matter what the time of day. The sparkling, aerated pinwheels of the sprinklers always turning, steadily turning; if you look at them closely enough they form rainbows before your eyes. The clean, sharp curve of the driveway. The dazzling whiteness of the porch-supports in the sun. Indoors, the curving white symmetry of the bannister, as gracious as the dark and glossy stair it accompanies down from above. The satin finish of the rich old floors, bearing a telltale scent of wax and of lemon-oil if you stop to sniff. The lushness of pile carpeting. In almost every room, some favorite chair waiting to greet you like an old friend when you come back to spend a little time with it. People who come and see it say, “What more can there be? This is a home, as a home should be.” Yes, the house we live in is so pleasant in Caulfield.
*
But not for us.”
***
From I Married a Dead Man, by Cornell Woolrich, filmed as NO MAN OF HER OWN, directed by Mitchell Leisen. More to follow!
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9 Responses to “Quote of the Day #2”

  1. Just finished writing a bigger piece about this noir masterpiece, which seems to be even more neglected and unknown than Leisen’s other great works.

  2. Christopher Says:

    poor ol’ Babs…felt bad for her in Sorry,Wrong Number too

  3. She suffers magnificently… she’s even better at it than Crawford.

    The most impressive thing for me when I finally saw Sorry, Wrong Number was the way it had the guts to really go for it at the end. As Friedrich Durrenmatt put it, “A story is not over until it has reached its worst possible conclusion.”

  4. Christopher Says:

    I’d like to have been a fly in the cinema back in ’48 to see the stymied looks on the 40’s audiences,robbed of their happy ending..

  5. ” … some live in darkness
    “And others in light.
    “We see those who live in the daytime
    “But not those who live at night.”

    ~ from the third finale of Brecht & Weill’s THREEPENNY OPERA

  6. Opera noir!

    40s audiences must’ve gotten accustomed to downbeat endings via noir, but few are as utterly bleak and hysterical as SWN. It’s a shocker!

  7. david wingrove Says:

    Unless my memory is at fault, NO MAN OF HER OWN (unlike SORRY WRONG NUMBER) actually does have a happy ending – albeit not a very convincing one. I remember loving the film but feeling let down by its ending, which failed to do justice to the overall grimness of the story.

  8. I’ll talk about this more in my piece on the film, but your memory is accurate. As often with CW adaptations, I’m not sure what else they could have done, even though their solution is not quite in the spirit of his malign universe.

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