The Black Doll, a little-known and never-produced screenplay by the very well-known and often-published artist and writer Edward Gorey (1925-2000), dishes up a rambunctious romp of a plot, featuring vile villains, wicked women, sinister socialites, and a horrified heroine. It's the stuff of many a silent melodrama, but imbued with classic Gorey convolutions. Written before 1973 and originally published with illustrations in Scenario magazine in 1998, The Black Doll has been missing from most Gorey libraries until now.A huge film buff all his life, Gorey claimed to have watched as many as one thousand movies a year when he lived in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s. He was a devoted student of silent films, citing Louis Feuillade (French, 1873-1925) and D. W. Griffith (American, 1875-1948), pioneers of the genre, as major inspirations. His informed insights on silent films were revealed in an interview with Annie Nocenti, published in the same issue of Scenario; it, too, is republished in these pages.Gorey illustrated The Black Doll with about twenty costumed characters, who seem to appear haphazardly within the script's text. (Don't worry: they all fall into place at the end of the story.) If the enigmatic script leaves you a bit dazed, keep in mind these words from Mr. Gorey: "I always feel, `what you see is what you get,' but if you want to read something into it, then you can."Including several relevant illustrations from his other books and an illuminating foreword by Andreas L. Brown (owner of the Gotham Book Mart and Trustee of the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust), The Black Doll is truly a Gorey gem.
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