RE: RARA-AVIS: The Grifters - Hell of a woman - Serie Noire

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 03 Mar 2003

At 14:51 02-03-03 -0500, you wrote:
>"The Grifters" is a good adaptation, but the best adaptation of a Jim
>Thompson book has to be "Coup de Torchon" a French adaptation of Pop.
>1280. What's remarkable about this version is it takes Pop. 1280 out of
>West Texas and moves it to a French territory in Africa, and the movie
>still captures the feel of the book entirely.
>The one movie I've bene wanting to see but can't find is the French
>version of "Hell of a Woman". Has anyone on this list ever seen it?
>-Dave Zeltserman

I do not share the same enthusiasm as Dave for "Coup de torchon", very good film by itself, but IMO did not capture the final essence of 'pop. 1280' by lacking this near metaphysical level Thompson's novel reaches. But I place the novel very high in my personal pantheon, and I always considered it as the best novel by Thompson.

'Hell of a woman' was adapted in a French film by Alain Corneau (Serie Noire - 1979), in which the best part is the first class interpretation by two actors: Patrick Dewaere and Bernard Blier. The grim atmosphere created by Corneau added to the basic qualities of this film, which is good but not prominent. Even if the script was co-written by Georges Perec, the well known writer, and the story adapted to French locations and French style of characters. And I do not think it recreates really the ambiance of the novel nor Thompson's universe... But I did not watch it again recently. Dewaere committed suicide in 1982 (he was 35 years old) and his dead cut short the promising career of this ultra-gifted actor.

E.Borgers Hard-boiled Mysteries http;//

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