RARA-AVIS: Richard Stark - THE OUTFIT + BRAT- Russian noir

From: Etienne Borgers ( wbac1203@wanadoo.be)
Date: 29 Jul 2002

Films based on Stark's Parker series were discussed here not so long ago. Of course POINT BLANK (from the novel The Hunter) with Lee Marvin stays head and shoulders well above the rest.

I recently saw THE OUTFIT (1973) by John Flynn (also credited for the screenplay), and based on the novel with the same title (1963), with Duvall as Parker (named Earl Maklin in the film). I do not remember if this one was mentioned or rated here, but it's a very good film and Duvall appears as a believable Parker. The film is tough, quick and very efficient, with some of the typical characteristics of B series of quality. And steel hard Parker keeps in this film his independent and professional profile, essence of most of the book series by Richard Stark.

As William Denton has a weakness for stories wherein professionals are described performing their trade with efficiency and the satisfaction of jobs well done, I may recommend another film I recently saw. BRAT (aka The Brother)-1997. This Russian film, about a young guy back home after his army time and becoming a hit man in Saint Petersburg, is really noir, bleak and hard. It takes place in a devastated Russia, where only an Angel of Death seems to distribute a real justice. It's very though, but not nihilistic. The filming is far away from the baroque style or from action orientated films that appeared too often recently in noir/mystery films. Here, filming gives a real sense of distanciation and is close to the neo-realism approach, but it stays well suited; it's a kind of visual equivalent of the behaviorist style we encountered in some of the classics of noir novels and in HB lit. IMHO, a great film. The young man, when asked what he was doing in the army, always answers:
"I worked in the offices...". Gosh! Then I strongly suggest that next time you visit Russia your forms and documents will have to be nicely filled and tidy... just believe me!

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6384

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 29 Jul 2002 EDT