Monday, July 27, 2015

Books to Movies

- from Susan

"What's your favorite movie adaptation of a crime novel?"

This question stumped me for a bit. I realize I’ve seen lots of crime movies that were made from books, but haven’t read the books that they’re based on. If you broaden it to include TV, I have more options.

The John Grisham thrillers were straightforward and easy to adapt. They build logically toward a climax, always feature an interesting if slightly reluctant hero, and have satisfyingly righteous endings.

Elmore Leonard’s ability to create juicy characters and beautiful dialogue translated nicely into L.A. Confidential and, on TV, my favorite, Justified.

Ten years ago, I would have led off with Agatha Christie, in film and on television. But I’ve gotten tired of the arch character interpretations of her protagonists and the ways directors and writers have let her other characters exist as cardboard cutout stereotypes. My taste for Christie’s clever puzzles is intact, just not the way they’re being presented in the 21st century. I’d love to see one updated to 2015. After all, they do it all the time with opera now, so why is her work preserved in amber?

I saw Diva before I read Delacorta’s novel. It was a spellbinder and has become an all-time favorite film of mine. If you can find it, watch it – maybe twice to figure out what is actually happening. Subtle, wispy like fog, mysterious and exotic…so, you know I liked it, right? I read the novel much later and found out what a fine writer he is. Turns out he began his studies as a painter, and later worked as a music critic, all of which makes sense when you see Diva.

There are more, but I want to read what my fellow Minds say. I’m betting they have some great candidates to share!


Meredith Cole said...

I love your idea for updating Christie to the modern age. They've certainly done it (a lot) now with Sherlock Holmes. Could be fun to see.

Susan C Shea said...

I think it could be done easily and, yes, I'd love to see a modern Poirot, perhaps a vain metrosexual who sees things happening at the sophisticated after-hours clubs in New York...

RJ Harlick said...

They've updated Sherlock to the point of him being old, old, old in the latest rendition. But I agree about the many renditions of Poirot, Miss Marple and Sherlock getting rather ho hum boring.

Art Taylor said...

A nice start to the week here! ...though LA Confidential was James Ellroy (not Elmore Leonard). Still a great adaptation!

Susan C Shea said...

Oh, thanks, Art. Writing at midnight isn't such a great idea, I guess! I've mixed their names up before - shame on me. Both writers get my plaudits for arresting writing that adapts well to cinematic format.