Noir Poets: Ira Wolfert

All the things a man has to go through to get to live here, thought Leo, the things, the things, thousands and millions and millions of dirty things to hurt people and hurt himself.  The street seemed drowned in stone. It looked narrow and drowned, a thing emptied of life and walled with swollen, stone bones. The feeling of costly desolation was heavy in Leo. This costly desolation was splendor, but Leo did not think of it as splendid. Yet he tried to be faithful to the rich. He tried to think of the costly desolation as good for sleep. Only the rich could afford to buy quiet like this in the heart of the city, he told himself. He felt suddenly that only a man who had made himself rich could become barren enough to want and be comfortable in this desolation.

–  Ira Wolfert, ‘Tucker’s People’ (aka ‘The Underworld’), NY, 1943, p. 71

Abraham Polonsky’s and Ira Wolfert’s screenplay for Force of Evil (1948) was based on Wolfert’s novel.

2 thoughts on “Noir Poets: Ira Wolfert”

  1. “Only the rich could afford to buy quiet like this in the heart of the city, he told himself. He felt suddenly that only a man who had made himself rich could become barren enough to want and be comfortable in this desolation.””

    Ha! That tells it all with the kind of profundity that typified work of this quality. It’s one of the darkest of all screenplays.

    Like

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