The Book & the Movie: Nightmare Alley | William Lindsay Gresham,1946 / Edmund Goulding, 1947

^ William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946                                  ^ Nightmare Alley (1947) Director: Edmund Goulding

"But people were a lot alike. What you told one you could tell nine out of ten. And there was on 
out of five that would believe everything you told them and would say yes to anything when 
you asked them if it was correct because they were the kind of marks that can’t say no."

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946

"It’s funny how you can see a girl every day for months and yet not see her, Stan thought. 
Then something will happen–like the way Molly’s mouth presses together when she holds 
the arc points and the fire starts to fly. Then you see her all different."

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946

"How helpless they all looked in the ugliness of sleep. A third of life spent unconscious and
 corpselike. And some, the great majority, stumbled through their waking hours scarcely more
 awake, helpless in the face of destiny. They stumbled down a dark alley toward their deaths."

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946

"The earth doesn’t age as fast as the things man makes."

"Because if that man loves you–” Zeena paused for breath and then rushed on. “If that man
loves you it don’t matter whether he makes a living or not. It don’t matter if he stays sober
or not. If you’ve got a man that really loves you, you hang on to him like grim death for better
or worse.” There was a catch in her voice and for a long moment silence hung in the air over
the waiting crowd. “Hang on–because you’ll never regret it as much as you’ll regret sending
him away…"

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946

- How can a guy sink so low?
- He reached too high…

 “The rest of them drink something else: they drink promises. They drink hope.
And I've got it to hand them.”

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946

“What sort of God would put us here in this goddamned, stinking slaughterhouse of a world?”

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946

Nightmare Alley (1947)
Director: Edmund Goulding
Writers: Jules Furthman (screenplay), William Lindsay Gresham (novel)
Cinematography: Lee Garmes
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray

 Tyrone Power and Coleen Gray in Nightmare Alley, 1947

 "As a portrait of the human condition, Nightmare Alley is 
a creepy, all-too-harrowing masterpiece.”

Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda


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