Thursday, April 6, 2023

O. Henry's Humor, Pathos, Drama And Irony: 'My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On 'O. Henry 101 Stories'

Back in October of 2021, I wrote about the late, great short story writer O. Henry in my Washington Times On Crime column. 

You can read the column via the below link or the below text:

BOOK REVIEW: 'O. Henry: 101 Stories' - Washington Times

Every Christmas season, I watch about a dozen or so favorite holiday films. One of them is “O. Henry’s Full House.” The 1952 film offers five adaptations of O. Henry’s great short stories with Christmas themes. The film features fine directors for each story, such as Henry Hathaway, Howard Hawks, Henry King, and notable actors as Charles Laughton, Fred Allen, and Marilyn Monroe. Author John Steinbeck is the film’s narrator.


The film highlights O. Henry’s humor, drama, pathos and irony. The stories presented in the film are “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Ransom of Red Chief,” “The Cop and the Anthem,” “The Last Leaf,” and my favorite, “The Clarion Call.” The story stars Dale Robinson as a cop who is indebted to a crook portrayed by Richard Widmark.


O. Henry, the pen name of William Sidney Porter, has many admirers, like me, and those admirers will enjoy a new collection of his stories published by the Library of America, called “O. Henry: 101 Stories.” 


As crime is my primary interest and beat, I particularly love O. Henry’s short stories about crime. There are several crime stories in “O. Henry: 101 Stories,” such as the classic “A Retrieved Reformation,” “After Twenty Years,” and “The Girl and the Graft.” 


“O. Henry: 101 Stories” was edited by Ben Yagoda. He noted although that although O. Henry is mostly known for stories with a twist ending, such as “The Gift of the Magi,” the majority of his stories do not have surprise endings and are not sentimental. "O. Henry painted an almost ethnographic portrait of the American con man in "The Gentle Grafter," and published another sharp and clever collection of linked stories in 'Cabbbages and Kings,' about misfit and their misadventures in a fictional Central American 'banana republic' (O. Henry coined the term), Mr. Yagoda said in an interview.    

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