RARA-AVIS: Adaptations & the Hollywood Blanditron

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 22 Feb 2002

the edition of that Gores novel I have (unfortunately
> inaccessible at the moment), he has a fascinating Introduction
> all that it took to get that movie -- including a phenomenal number of
> screenplays, by Gores and others -- made!
> I'm as much fascinated by behind-the-scenes stuff such as this as, far
> often, I am the works of fiction themselves....

I wouldn't mind reading that intro - I find that stuff interesting also
(usually). Movies being such a collaborative medium, with the money men having a huge say in what gets made & how, it's amazing that good movies get made at all. Wim Wenders (director of "Hammett") is a director I have much respect for - his "The American Friend" is one of the great post-noir flicks of the 1970's, IMO, & I consider that high praise. It may not be that faithful to Patricia Highsmith's source material, with Dennis Hopper playing Ripley, for instance, but it's still a corker & Hopper is excellent, even if the character is more Hopper than Ripley. I guess, as George P pointed out , I & others may be a little harsh in our criticism of Peckinpah's version of "The Getaway". Perhaps because in this case I actually read the book first. An old buddy of mine, who is a Peckinpah fan as well as a Thompson fan has a much higher opinion of the movie - but he'd seen it before I'd turned him onto Thompson so he wasn't disappointed at his first viewing like I was. According to Harlan Ellison, Hollywood movies go through a process of being put through what he calls the "Blanditron" (IIRC) to achieve the lowest common denominator. It reminds me of an interview with Jodie Foster that I saw on TV. She was talking about a script she'd received that she was very interested in. The story was, according to Foster, a gritty, realistic look at the life of a single-mother prostitute who works out of truck stops. When she got to the first meeting to discuss the script she was told that they'd made a few small changes - "It's pretty much the same but she doesn't work out of truckstops & she's not a single-mother. She's also just starting out now, so it's still kinda fun for her" (?!) (This spoken by a woman, IIRC). Foster says she pulled out of the project right then.The film was made & became rather successful under the title "Pretty Woman".
& while I'm talking about adaptations, in about 3 hrs time I'm going to be watching a matinee screening of "Cockfighter" which I've never seen before - or even recall an opportunity to do so. Oh joy oh joy oh joy! I'll let everyone know what I thought later - I know everyone's hanging out for another one of my rare & sparse posts!


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 22 Feb 2002 EST