Re: RARA-AVIS: Newton Thornburg

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 20 Nov 2007

-----Original Message-----
>From: blumenidiot <>
>Sent: Nov 20, 2007 5:47 PM
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Newton Thornburg
>The movie was entitled CUTTER'S WAY and the plot and
>the characters of the movie are not very similar to
>the book.

The movie was first released as CUTTER AND BONE. When it didn't do well at the boxoffice UA pulled it from distribution, retitled it CUTTER'S WAY, then rereleased it. It still failed to ignite the boxoffice, but it did get some great reviews.

The characters in the movie seem very close to the book to me, except for the fact that Mo does not have a baby in the movie. IIRC, much of Thornburg's dialogue makes it to the screenplay.

I think the plot is very close to the book as well, except for part of the book towards the end where Cutter and Bone leave California to pursue Cord in Colorado (?) or some place like that. Of course, the end of the book and the movie are completely different.

I was fortunate enough to catch a screening of CUTTER'S WAY at the Nuart many years ago where Ivan Passer (the director) and Jeffrey Alan Fiskin (the screenwriter) spoke afterwards. When asked why he dropped the last segment of the book, Fiskin answered, "That part of the book didn't interest me very much." In movie terms, I can see what he means.

The book is fantastic. But I think most of the streamlining choices Fiskin and Passer made for the movie were good ones. To completely film the book would require a four hour mini-series.

Film adaptations will always be quite different from the source books, but in this case I admire both equally, sometimes for their differences as much as their similarities.

I can only think of one other book/film combo that this applies to.

But I dare not speak its name.

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