Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Patricia Highsmith: The Cry of the Owl
Seems to me that people mostly remember Patricia Highsmith from her Tom Ripley books (which are very good, so I'm not complaining) and Strangers on a Train (would they if Hitchcock hadn't made the film?). Her other stand-alones can also be very effective, and The Cry of the Wolf from 1962 is indeed very effective.
The book's a story about a young man who seems to dislike other people and stalks a young woman who's living alone in a house some miles away from the city. The girl does have a boyfriend, but when she spots the young stalker and responses to him kindly, a very strange relationship starts to develop. It seems for quite a while that this is a rare murderless crime novel, but in the end there's one. I won't say anything more. This is a good example of female noir, the subgenre Highsmith shared with the likes of Margaret Millar, Doris Miles Disney, Elizabeth Sanxay Holding, Ursula Curtiss and others. Higsmith might be the cruellest of them all.
I see only just now that there is a rather recent movie based on this. Anyone seen it? Is it any good?
Edit: I was told that Claude Chabrol also made a film out of this, called Le cri du hibou (1987).