Monday, March 05, 2012

The Woman Chaser by Charles Willeford

(pb; 1960)

From the back cover:

"Richard Hudson, woman chaser and used car salesman, has a pimp's awareness of the ways women (and men) are mostly vulnerable. One day Richard decides to make an ambitious film, which turns into a fiasco. Enraged, he exacts revenge on all who have crossed him."


The Woman Chaser is a disturbing read, in that the main character/narrator, Richard Hudson, is so amoral, (self-)destructive, childish and smug, especially when it comes to his interactions with those around him; what makes this repellant narrator tolerable is the way Willeford, an amazingly nuanced writer, cleverly structures Woman with a dry wit script-mindset - it's the equivalent of watching a talented actor (or writer, in this case Willeford) pretend to be a hack (Hudson), all the while skewering said hackish character/voice.

The laughs in this novel, like those in the movie that followed thirty-nine years later, are dark and bleak, with a touch of silliness.

Exemplary, memorable - if disturbing - novel.


This was released stateside as a black and white comedy film in 1999.

Patrick Warburton played Richard Hudson. Eugene Roche played "Used Car Salesman". Lynette Bennett played Mother. Paul Malevich played Leo. Marilyn Rising played Becky. Ron Morgan played Bill. Emily Newman played Laura.

Joe Durrenberger played Chet. Pat Crowder played "Salvation Army Woman". Ernie Vincent played "The Man". Max Kerstein played Ruggerio. Mel Hampton played Flaps. Lora Witty (billed as Laura Witty) played Mrs. Shantz. Lane Siller played Milo. J. Keith van Straaten played Dickie J. Hewlitt.

Robinson Devor scripted and directed the film.

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