Night Cry

Novel Basis for Where the Sidewalk Ends

Years after producing one of the great gritty noirs, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Otto Preminger was asked for his thoughts on the film. His  response?

“I don’t remember nothing at all about it.”

Avon 186, First Edition Paperback

His memories were similarly “blank” with regard to other 20th Century Fox noirs: Fallen Angel, “I can’t remember the picture at all”; and,Whirlpool ,” I cannot remember  anything about this film.” Since his amnesia did not extend to Laura, or films after he left 20th Century Fox, OR to his life while at Fox, we can assume he didn’t suffer from a klunk on the head..

In his Autobiography, “Preminger“, published in 1977,  he describes Fox as a “sausage factory” and then goes on to explain that after he finishes a film he basically forgets all about it*.  Preminger went on to say that, “According to Freud, the ability to forget is the sign of a healthy mind.” (Wouldn’t you love being married to this guy.)

Fortunately we do have the film newly released on DVD, truck loads of critical essays and reviews, and the original book, Night Cry,  for inspiration. William L. Stuart’s novel remains as dark and gritty a read today as it was 60 years ago. It’s little wonder it was snatched up so quickly for theatrical production. The novel also gave William Stuart’s career a major push as a screenwriter and later producer for television. And there he remained for more than 20 years. It’s too bad because he was really a pretty darn good novelist.


Night Cry, by William Stuart. Avon 186 is a  nice looking first edition paperback and the cover art by Ann Cantor actually has something to do with the novel. Always a plus in the 1940s.The cover is virtually creaseless. The binding is tight, but a few of the pages are uneven. So I believe someone repaired it at one point. The pages are a light tan.


*Yep, I’m paraphrasing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.