RARA-AVIS: Re: Hit Me (The Jim Thompson Adaptation)

From: Chris Schneider ( chrisaschneider@earthlink.net)
Date: 02 Jul 2003

> on 6/28/03 7:41 AM, Dave at davezelt@attbi.com wrote:
> I just rented "Hit Me", which is an awful movie and a completely
> pointless adaptation of Jim Thompson's "A Swell-Looking Babe". Other
> than some of the names (although "Dusty" Rhodes becomes Sonny Rhodes)
> and elements of the rip-off scheme, the movie has nothing in common with
> the book. Makes you wonder what they were thinking - to buy the rights
> to such a great crime book and turn it into such crap? The video box
> lists William Macy prominently on the box - he's got about a 30 second
> cameo in this. Elias Koteas stars, and I don't think anyone watching
> this would want to choose him for Marlowe (although he was good in
> "Exotica" and "A Thin Red Line").
> --

    You might want to check out a particularly well-written piece on that film by Jonathan Lethem in the 10/2/98 issue of Salon.com.
    One name you forget to mention is the man who wrote the screenplay, Denis Johnson. He's a very fine -- really! -- novelist and sometimes playwright whose tales can have a decidedly noir feel. I'd recommend his
"Resuscitation of A Hanged Man," which strikes me as a bit of a Neil Jordan film *manque*.
    For what it's worth, as far as adaptations of "A Swell-Looking Babe" are concerned ... I once put together the credits for an Alternate Universe Film Adaptation of Thompson's novel. An adptation, that is to say, which never occurred yet which I'd like to have seen. Here are the names:

              A SWELL-LOOKING BABE

              Columbia, 1954

              dusty -- John Barrymore, Jr.

             marcia -- Cleo Moore

                tug -- Lawrence Tierney

           bill sr. -- Hugo Haas

            bascomb -- John Qualen

          kossmeyer -- Harry Guardino


           director -- Hugo Haas

         screenplay -- Hugo Haas
                      (actually an uncredited,
                      blacklisted Abraham Polonsky)

                  * * *

    My two rules, for the Alternate Universe Film Adaptation game, are: 1) it all must be reasonably likely, omitting "impossible" combinations of names; and 2) the fictitious film must be a product of the same year when, in real life, the book was published. It's a game that keeps me occupied in idle moments ...



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