RARA-AVIS: Re: W.R. Burnett

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 19 Mar 2010

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    James R.,

    Re your comments below:

    "Yeah, he sort of rode a wave. Or created the wave. Not really a good writer but, in a way, an important and influential writer. I would compare him to Daly in that fashion."

    While, unlike a lot of people here, I rather like Daly in small doses, Burnett was a much more talented writer than Daly.

    If you mean that Burnett was as a pioneer of the gangster novel as Daly was to the PI novel, you might have a point.

    That said, Burnett could write a hell of a fine crime novel.  BIG STAN, a Gold Medal PBO written in the '50's is a damned fine cop story.  SAINT JOHNSON, for all its divergences from the historical record, is one of the best (and probably the very first) fictionalization of the events at Tombstone that led to the gunfight at the OK Corral.  And the influence of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE on Richard Stark is clear and obvious.  To this day, whenever I read a Stark novel, I imagine Sterling Hayden as Parker largely on the basis of his performance as a similar character in the film version of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE.

    Daly had nothing but pace and action going for him, when all is said and done.  Burnett was a talented writer whose work deserves to be remembered better than it is.



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