The Black Curtain is your personal ticket to Hell, stamped by Cornell Woolrich. Frank Townsend suffers a minor injury on a tawdry city street. He goes home and finds his wife gone, and his life turned upside-down. His apartment looks unfamiliar to him, he recognizes nothing and no one. Worse still, he’s accused of murder and is being followed by mysterious strangers for no apparent reason. Frank is plunging into a black pool of amnesia.
His past is now a mere blur. His quest seems almost impossible: he must regain his identity, clear his name, and pick up the threads of his former life. There’s no avenging angel to assist him. He’s forced to save his own skin, in his own way. He’ll walk a torturous, uncertain path.
In The Black Curtain, Woolrich toys not only with fate, but our own inner demons. Who are we, really? What secrets are we concealing? Will a terrifying past suddenly creep up and strangle us? Woolrich also keeps us guessing about Frank Townsend. Who was he before his injury? Is he truly innocent of the murder rap pinned on him?
This dark study in desperation was well-adapted for the underrated 1942 film noir Street of Chance, featuring Burgess Meredith and veteran femme fatale Claire Trevor in fine form.
With The Black Curtain, Cornell Woolrich takes our tranquil world and turns it inside-out. Familiarity becomes fatal. Happiness and comfort are fragile and elusive. Buckle up and take a ride into darkness.
Cloth: $75, on sale for $40