Blake Wu's Reviews > Wild Wives

Wild Wives by Charles Willeford
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

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Read in March, 2012

It's a fast read, with a quirky cast of characters set in San Francisco. However, there are some odd similarities to a 1950 film noir starring Robert Mitchum, Claude Rains, and Faith Domergue. Both the movie and Willeford's novella dealt with a (comparatively) young man who fell for a beautiful "wild" (mentally imbalanced) woman who lied about being controlled by her "father" (he turned out to be her rich and much older husband). In the resulting confrontation, the femme fatale smothered the husband without letting the protagonist know, and they tried to flee to Mexico where supposedly the woman had stashed away cash she had been secretly skimming from her old man. I have always wondered whether Willeford had worked uncredited on the film, which predated his novella by some 6-7 years, or whether this was a case of "inadvertent" plagiarism (or at least "creative borrowing"). There are of course sufficient differences between the film and the book to distinguish them as works of art, but the similarities nevertheless are pretty striking.

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Andy Yeah, I just realized I was reading "Where Danger Lives" but the movie had that great scene about Mustache Day.

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