Re: RARA-AVIS: No Orchids

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 31 Dec 2004

"The Grisom Gang" (1971) is somewhat loosely adapted from Chase's novel, away from the gruesomer aspects of the novel, even if it retains some of the violence. And is rather long. It is not a great Aldrich film and certainly not of the same vein as
"Kiss me, deadly", but for film fans it remains interesting and well done. There is also some irony found as a watermark all over the story, and some sequences that reflects Aldrich real abilities.
(I watched it again recently).

But remember that No Orchids (1939) was basically a deviated pastiche: Chase taking the already existing clich鳠of Noir/HB lit of these days and pushing them deliberately to more violence and more darkness trying to capture the readers' voyeurism. I read it a long, long time ago (even if I was no Mr Mish's pupil) and the poor writing was what struck me the most. Chase just ripped superficially part of Faulkner's "Sanctuary" story and a certain darkness, not the real quality of "Sanctuary" and certainly not the art of Faulkner. You should reread Faulkner, not No Orchids… In my book Faulkner is one of the great modern novelists. Beyond genre lit.

Now, you perhaps know that Chase re-wrote No Orchids…, his first book, this revision being published in 1961. The excuse was to "modernize" it, but in fact I think that he was a little annoyed by the writing poorness of one of his best sellers, certainly his best known, and tried to improve it. In fact he also softened a bit the more brutal scenes. Do not forget that during the sixties he was in full glory and considered as a master of thriller noir, his fame being also high among the general public… So… softening could have been somewhat forced. But I read only a translation of the new version, never the original.

Have a good year's end!

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries a 飲it:

>I happened to spot a movie called The Grissom Gang in Borders the other
>day. The cover got me to pick it up and find it was directed by Robert
>Aldrich, who directed Kiss Me Deadly. I'd never heard of this 1971 film
>(not too surprising, although a fan, I'm hardly a film noir scholar), so
>I looked it up. Turns out it's an adaptaton of James Hadley Chase's
>infamous No Orchids ofr Miss Blandish. Has anyone seen this? Is it any
>I read No Orchids a long, long time ago, on the sorta recommendation of
>my favorite professor, CC Mish, who taught a hardboiled literature
>course at the University of Maryland (the same class that inspired
>Pelecanos). Although Mish didn't assign the book, he called it, not
>entirely negatively (Mish loved his trash as much as his opera), a
>rip-off of Faulkner's Sanctuary. So I read them both. I only saw
>surface similarities. Frankly, I don't remember much about either now.

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Make a clean sweep of pop-up ads. Yahoo! Companion Toolbar. Now with Pop-Up Blocker. Get it for free!

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 31 Dec 2004 EST