RARA-AVIS: Dark Passage (The film)

From: Nathan Cain (IndieCrime@gmail.com)
Date: 04 Mar 2009

  • Next message: Stephen Burridge: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Dark Passage (The film)"

    I wish I had gotten to this during Goodis month, but here goes...

    I think one of the main reasons I've never read much Goodis is because of the film version of Dark Passage. It is not a good film and a large part of the problem is the story, which relies on coincidence so heavily as to go beyond incredible into some realm of its own. Parry escapes from prison, then hitches a ride with a guy who happens to be a small time blackmailer, and then he runs into Irene, who happens to be obsessed with his case. Irene happens to be friends with Madge, the woman whose testimony sent Parry to prison, but apparently Madge doesn't know Irene was at Parry's trial every day and also Parry never managed to meet Irene although they apparently ran in the same social circles. And don't get me started on the fact that Parry gets the one cabby in the city who happens to run a sideline businesss finding customers for a crooked plastic surgeon and the fact that when Parry finally confronts Madge she just happens to fall out a window.

    Now, every writer of fiction uses conicidence. The key is to use it sparingly and to make it believable, and not to keep heaping it up until it becomes unintentionally funny. My question to the list is, does the movie follow the book closely (i.e,, is the book as ridiculous as the film), and, if so, why is Dark Passage Goodis' best known work? My exposure to him is limited, but surely there are Goodis stories that are a tad less silly. The Wounded and The Slain, which Hard Case reprinted, didn't have any outlandish plotting, and it was more or less forgotten until recently.

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