RARA-AVIS: In an Attempt to Close One Thread and Start Another

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 09 Oct 2009

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    Re your comment below:

    ". . . those dismissing DiCaprio as a 'baby-face' and a lightweight are clearly ignoring historical precedent where Alan Ladd, a 5'4" baby-faced former song and dance man was excellent in This Gun For Hire, Hammett's Glass Key and Chandler's Marlowe-esqe The Blue Dahlia."

    An actor can be truly excellent at his craft without that excellence making him perfect for any part.

    Certain characters bring with them certain visual expectations on the part of the audience. Nicholas Cage is a fine actor; but he doesn't look like Superman. Mickey Rooney's a fine actor; he wouldn't have been able to carry off Spade or Marlowe. Lord Olivier was, during his lifetime, probably the finest actor in the world; but he'd've been the wrong choice to play Dirty Harry.

    DiCaprio's a good actor, and, as you point out, he's already carried off hard-boiled parts quite well. But he just plain doesn't look like Travis McGee.

    Now, to try to bring this back to prose fiction, what do people here think of Tim Rob Smith's police novels set in '50's-era Russia? How do they stand up to, say, Olen Steinhaur's series of cop/espionage novels set in an unnamed Soviet satellite during roughly the same era?



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