RARA-AVIS: The Woman Chaser movie

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 03 May 2004

Thanks to Mr. Wilson, who lent me the video, I was finally able to see the 1999 movie adaptation of THE WOMAN CHASER by Charles Willeford. I looked back through the archives and almost everyone who saw it liked it and said it was the most faithful of the three adaptations of Willeford's books
(the others being COCKFIGHTER and MIAMI BLUES).

One or two people didn't like it much, and neither did the reviewer in the New York Times. I'd say it's middling. Some scenes are well done, like the dance with Hudson and his mother, and some of the minor parts are well cast. The movie within the movie, what bits we see of it on screen or while it's being filmed, looks great. Willeford's book is very good, so it's got the right stuff to start with.

The problem is not that it's a low budget, off-beat, black and white film noir homage with a lounge music soundtrack, it's that it's not an original low budget, off-beat, black and white film noir homage with a lounge music soundtrack. It often looks just like you'd imagine it would, camera angles, grainy film, and all.

While watching it, I thought, man, if they'd handled it the way Stephen Frears and Donald Westlake did Jim Thompson's THE GRIFTERS, they'd have one hell of a movie. But that's a rare happening.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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