Cornell Woolrich (1903 – 1968) was an American crime writer. It is reported that more works of Film Noir
have been adapted from stories by Woolrich than any other writer.
His short story "It Had to Be Murder" was the basis of the Alfred Hitchcock
film Rear Window
. Another short story was adapted into the episode "Four O'Clock" of Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Works by Cornell Woolrich provide examples of:
- Dead Man's Chest: "The Dilemma of the Dead Lady" is a fine example. A jewel thief murders his unwitting accomplice, but because she's kind of wearing the stolen jewels, he needs to take her along on his ocean voyage—and things get worse from there.
- Dead Person Impersonation: In the novel I Married A Dead Man, a poor young woman who is pregnant and has been abandoned by her lover meets a wealthy pregnant woman on a train who looks similar to her along with her husband. When the train crashes and the couple is killed, the poor woman passes herself off to the husband's family as his wife.
- Downer Ending: Especially in his later work.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: This is the central plot point of Phantom Lady.
- Vengeful Widow: The Bride Wore Black is about a woman who hunts down and kills the five men who murdered her husband on their wedding day. It was later adapted into a movie directed by François Truffaut.