Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Neo-noir films

Date: 17 Jul 2004

In a message dated 7/16/04 11:44:00 AM, writes:

<< Why are so few of the books we discuss here made into films?

easy pop fly. mine.

Maybe I'm unaware of the written source of one or two more, but most are still original screenplays.

not anymore. most thrillers these days are adaptations. right now, it's tough to sell an original, no matter how good, simply because there's no
"pre-sold" aspect. it's a marketing driven business.

Sure, a lot of the original noirs were also original screenplays, but many, and most of the best known, were adaptations. And many (most?) of the vintage authors we discuss here had their work filmed -- Hammett, Chandler, Cain, Woolrich, Goodis, Thompson, Hitchens, Hughes, Gardner, etc, etc. Many were even drafted to write for Hollywood.

that was then. this is now.

However, Robert B Parker aside (and in his case, on the little screen), very few of the current authors we discuss here have had their work put on the big screen. And, Clint Eastwood productions aside, it's seldom a big budget film when they do. Three Willefords have been made. Lansdale had a story (indie) filmed, of course, but what about his Hap and Leonard books? They seem custom made for the screen. And although Pelecanos books have been optioned, not one has been made.

This seems very odd to me, especially since so many contemporary crime writers are so cinematic in their description and pacing. For instance, Douglas Winter's Run is essentially a movie on the page, a fleshed out screenplay. I can't believe no one has made it into a movie.

someone may have tried. and failed.

Is it simply movie economics -- why pay for a book and adaptation, when you can just buy an original screenplay? But we often hear of books that have been optioned, so they've paid for the book. Or is it that movies once saw themselves as piggybacking on the popularity of a book, but Potter/Ring aside, few books are thought to be popular enough for Hollywood to assume the popular audience would know them? Or is the reading public and filmgoing public thought not to overlap? Odd.

ultimately the reason you don't see more of your favorite books reach the screen is because it's almost impossible for ANYTHING to reach the screen. this may seem odd since your local cineplex has an endless stream of product, but take a close look at what these movies actually are. in very rare cases are they marketed as "based on a novel by..."

the reason ANY movie gets made is due to a rare confluence of events equal to catching lightning in a bottle, and has very little to do with how good the script is, or the book it was based on. in these days of multi-media conglomerate owned studios, you better have sizzle if you want to sell your steak. movies no longer get made because a story has to be told

John Lau

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