As we reported yesterday, Disney will be giving – through the Searchlight Pictures label they acquired in their Fox deal – director Guillermo del Toro’s noir thriller Nightmare Alley a wide theatrical release on December 17th. Now Vanity Fair has gotten their hands on a batch of first look images from the film, and you can see several of them below.

Based on a novel by William Lindsay Gresham (which was previously turned into a movie back in 1947), Nightmare Alley is a noir thriller set in

a world of carnival hustlers and con men, telling the story of a mentalist who teams with a psychologist in order to swindle the rich.

Copies of Gresham’s novel can be purchased at THIS LINK. Here’s the description:

Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a carnival-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.

And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he’s going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute assistant (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan’s for the taking. At least for now.

Del Toro wrote this adaptation with Kim Morgan, and told Vanity Fair that writing the adaptation “required heavy reworking” because to bring the story directly from the page to the screen would have meant making “a six-hour mini-series” with “shifting points of view”.

The cast assembled for the film includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Mary Steenburgen, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Toni Collette, Holt McCallany, David Strathairn, Clifton Collins Jr., Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Beaver, David Hewlett, and Richard Jenkins. Del Toro gave Vanity Fair details on several of the characters those actors are bringing to life, so click over to their website to learn a lot more about Nightmare Alley – and to see some images that haven’t been included here.

Nightmare Alley has been rated R for “strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity and language.”

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