Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jim Thompson's happy ending?

Nope, Walter Hill's, apparently at the behest of Steve McQueen. McQueen, who controlled the production company for the 1972 movie The Getaway, based on Thompson's novel, "objected to the depressing ending" of Thompson's screeplay and had Hill replace him.

I haven't read the book, and I don't know what kind of an ending Thompson concocted for the screenplay. But he was not a happy-ending type, and I'd guess his version did not finish the way the movie does: with McQueen and Ali MacGraw emerging like transfigured lovers from a pile of garbage and trucking off to live happily ever after down Mexico way.

What are your favorite, most shocking, most surprising, most inappropriate or just plain weirdest Hollywood happy endings imposed on movie versions of novels or stories?

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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61 Comments:

Anonymous solo said...

Peter

I read The Getaway years ago and liked the book, but the ending was utterly bizarre and of a totally different character to the rest of the book. Even a surrealistic filmmaker like David Lynch would have struggled to do anything with it. A Peckinpah-like movie with a Lynch-like ending would have been a catastrophe

There was a Dutch film in the 80s called Spoorloos (The Vanishing). The best thing about it was the ending but even though Hollywood hired the original director to do a remake they made a total mess of it.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

I love The Getaway and really wouldn't expect any mainstream film maker to take on the ending.

the ending of The Passion Of The Christ was a bit far fetched for me. The hero coming back from the dead! Really!

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Dave Zeltserman said...

Peter, The Getaway is a tremendous book--mandatory reading if you're a fan of crime fiction, or Jim Thompson. The ending is spectacular--yes, bizarre, but perfectly fitting everything that came before it--the struggles Doc and Carol have with trust coming to this brilliant resolution. IT would've been impossible back in the 70s to have filmed that ending--and today it would be difficult for a studio film to be released with such an utterly bleak ending.

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

I think The Getaway has one of those Love it/Hate it endings. It certainly won't leave many people indifferent

I think Dave is wrong about the 1970s, though. I can't think of any period in US cinema before or after the late 60s/early 70s when Hollywood was willing to take such risks with unconventional movies

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Dana King said...

I never read the book, but the ending of BLADE RUNNER (in the theatrical version) seemed out of place when I saw it. Now we know hat was imposed on Ridley Scott., so it's one of those Hollywood deals.

Two endings that have always bothered me are movies made from Chandler books I've read over and over: THE BIG SLEEP and THE LONG GOOD-BYE.

THE BIG SLEEP (Bogart version) was just another example of a Hollywood ending, where the bad guy couldn't seem to get away with anything, which is against Chandler's whole point. THE LONG GOOD-BYE is just an abortion all the way through; the ending is particularly egregious, as Marlowe's actions go against everything he is as a character.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Breakfast at Tiffany's.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, I have read several references to The Getaway's surreal ending, but no descriptions -- tantalizing, since surreal is not a word normally associated with Jim Thompson. I've also seen the ending described as bleak, which is a Thompson word, though is does not do justice to the ending of, say, Savage Night.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Paul D. Brazill said...
I love The Getaway and really wouldn't expect any mainstream film maker to take on the ending.


That ending must be something if so many people refer to it without describing it. I'll have to read the novel now. (In fact, I've wanted to read it since I saw the movie's un-Thompsonlike ending.)

The hero coming back from the dead! Really!

I don't know if I'd have got an ending like that. I don't read or watch much fantasy or sci-fi.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dave, I may try to dig up the novel today.

You mention Doc and Carol. I'd be interested in knowing if the novel has a counterpart to the scene where Doc slaps Carol around by the side of the road. The movie's slaps were so delicate and restrained, which put in a bit of an ethical bind. No one wants to see a man smacking around a woman, but McQueen's delicate little taps certainly don't match what Jim Thompson could put on a page when he set his mind to it.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, do you refer to the novel's love it/hate it ending?

I didn't hate or love the movie's ending, I just found it a bit odd. I might not even have found that had I not known the movie was based on a Jim Thompson novel.

Perhaps Dave meant the ending would have been impossible technically in the 1970s.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, I seem to recall having had a similar sense about Blade Runner in reverse: I read the book after I had seen the movie. And it may be time for me to reread my Chandler, a salutary effect of these movie-vs.-book discussions.

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Solo
Sorry, Peter, I was referring to the novel's end as a love it/hate it one
If you can imagine, say, if James M Cain had decided in his last chapter of The Postman Always Rings Twice to follow Frank and Cora's progress after they had descended into Hades or at least a thinly disguised version of Hades, you'd get some idea of the end of the Getaway (novel)
It works for some people, obviously

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I suppose the movie's ending is meant to suggest that while remaining cheerful enough for Steve McQueen.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Patti, I have neither read the book nor seen the movie, and I know nothing about either, I'm afraid. I presume this was not a case of moviemakers happying up a horribly violent or bleak ending.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

The ending of the Getaway is fairly typical for JT. Its a similar vibe to The Killer Inside Me. JT cant be beat as far as I'm concerned. I took a pilgrimage to Anadarko OK once to capture some of the beautiful Thompson bleakness...

If you've ever read The Kids Stays in the Picture (or better yet listened to the audiobook) you'll get a really interesting perspective on all the shennanigans surrounding the Getaway. Jim Thompson's disapproval was the least of their worries.

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "El Rey" ending of the Getaway has always bugged me! I don't think it fits the characters at all. The movie "From Dusk till Dawn" actually embodies the ending to me.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I'd have thought that any Jim Thompson pilgrimage could have only one object: l'enfer.

In re highjinks surrounding The Getaway, that's the movie on which Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw became an item. Did she dump Evans for him? (and by God, what a smile she had!)

Those biographical and business facts -- that McQueen ran the production company and that he fell in love with Ali MacGraw while they were making the movie -- were in the back of my mind during the weirdly restrained scene where Doc slaps Carol around. Restraint in matters of violence was not a Jim Thompson trait. Did McQueen's personal feelings for MacGraw hold him back during the scene, and did his power over the production let him have his way?

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, anonymous. I missed that one when I went on a little Robert Rodriguez kick a few years ago. If a movie is good enough, it can transcend even the handicap of having Quentin Tarantino on screen.

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, have you ever seen the 1975 version of Farewell, My Lovely with Robert Mitchum as Marlowe? Jim Thompson had a cameo in it. I think it's his only screen appearance.

If you're interested you'll find him about two minutes in to this clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBHt-i2GIHk&feature=related

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Dave Zeltserman said...

Peter, I don't remember Doc slapping Carol around in the book--I could be wrong, but I think that was in the movie only.

The ending is also far more than Doc and Carol finding themselves in a version of hell. I don't want to give it away, but it connects strongly with the rest of the book.

Solo, you're right, there were risky and dark endings in the late 60s and 70s--Joe, Roesmary's Baby, Bonnie and Clyde, Straw Dogs, but I think the apocalyptic ending of Thompson's The Getaway would've taken it to a different level, plus it would've been tough to translate it to the screen.

A couple of other movies that the studio bosses forced new endings on--Double Indemnity (original had Fred MacMurray in gas chamber). Suspicion (original had Cary Grant planning to kill Joan Fontaine afterall).

About the Long Goodbye--we also have interesting discussions on this. Another of those love or hate. Personally I love the movie, love Altman's ending.

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Dave, Was the ending of Double Indemnity forced by the studios? I thought Wilder and Chandler actually improved on the book

January 06, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Evans is actually very gentlemanly about MacGraw - he blames himself for neglecting her.

Two asides:

The Kid Stays In The Picture is probably the most entertaining audiobook of all time.

The best JT adaptation I think is the inspired Coup de Torchon

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Solo. I had seen the movie, but I'm not sure I knew Jim Thompson was in it.

I remember the movie had a harsher edge than its predecessors in the 1940s did, but when I watched the clip, I thought both Mitchum and Sara Miles were better silent than when talking. I don't know squat about acting, but it seems to me Dirk Richards had the actors deliberately imitate the low-key, 1940s-style delivery, in which you can imagine the actors delivering their lines with their mouths barely moving. It has an odd effect here.

Bogart does it, and I can imagine a suppressed grin. Michum does it, and I can imagine he's falling asleep.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dave, I may be reading too much into the slapping scene. It may be less a product of personal drama than simply a kind of reversion to primitive, less-realistic action. You know how fights in movies from before the 1970s never seem quite believable, with their short, clipped punches that don't seem as if they could hurt anyone? That's what roadside slaps reminded me of. Of course, this movie was made right around the time of a shift to more realistic violence, I think, a time when not all movies would have made the shift.

The ending of the novel Double Indemnity would have been difficult to translate faithfully to the screen, if I recall it correctly. And Suspicion is not one my favorite Hitchcock movies. I wonder if its ending makes the movie even more unsettling than the original would have done, though.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I remember reading reviews of "The Kid Stays in the Picture" that suggested Evans was not, in fact, a bad guy. And thanks for recommending Coup de Torchon. I'd come across several mentions of it in my reading about Jim Thompson the past few days, and I think I may rent it soon. But I have another in mind to rent first ...

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Speaking of Chandler… Chandler's intended murderer in his original screenplay of "The Blue Dahlia" (1946) was the William Bendix character, Buzz Wanchek. Buzz had suffered brain damage as a result of a head injury in the war – there are several scenes in which he appears to act irrationally, experiences temporary amnesia, etc. – but the armed services advisors to the studio thought it inappropriate to have a returning serviceman depicted as a murder (in spite of the character’s medical condition) and Chandler had to come up with a new murderer, whose motivation for the killing is, naturally, unclear. The agonizingly painful conditions under which Chandler completed TBD is described by the film's producer John Houseman in his 1979 memoir, "Front and Center."

I echo Dana King’s angry sentiments regarding the endings of "The Big Sleep" and Altman's "The Long Goodbye." I realize the latter has as many adherents as it has detractors but that doesn’t make it any less anti-Chandler, anti-Marlowe.

I often wish Robert Mitchum had had the chance to portray Marlowe much earlier, when he was actually Marlowe's age. He is the man I see when I read Chandler.

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

As fine as "Harper" was (with the notable exception of an awkward attempt to rekindle the failed marriage of Lew and Sue), its nine-years-later sequel, "The Drowning Pool," is a complete mess. What was the point of moving the story from California to Louisiana? Everyone "acts" as though they can't wait for it all to be over. And neither could I.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I knew nothing about the novel on which "The Drowning Pool" is based. Your complaint about the shift of location is highly relevant to a
dismissive post I made about the movie some time ago, however.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I didn't know that about "The Blue Dahlia." I have seen enough of William Bendix to suspect that he'd be good in a role like that.

You offer a superb example of self-censorship. The flim's producers and military advisers probably did not trust the viewing public to realize that the character as Chandler intended him might well have been tragic and therefore sympathetic. Imagine having so little faith in the public.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, you'd mentioned before that you'd have liked to see Mitchum play Marlowe when he was younger. And I wonder how many readers in this world see Mitchum rather than Bogart when they read Chandler.

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, there hasn't been a great Chandler movie (yet). I see James Garner as Marlowe (and he did indeed portray him in the movie "marlowe"). Rockford is very close to Marlowe, & Garner in "Great Escape" is like a young Marlow (before he moved to LA).

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Garner wasn't bad in Marlowe, though I found it difficult to reconcile the character with a setting in color that looked liked, and may in fact have been, 1960s L.A. It's nice to see that you hold out hope ("yet") that there may still be a great Chandler movie.

So, who should play Marlowe in that movie?

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous Howard Shrier said...

My vote goes to The Natural. Bernard Malamud's novel had Roy Hobbs striking out in shame. In the movie, they had to give Robert Redford the home run into the lights. Yeesh.

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I agree there hasn't been a great adaptation of a Chandler novel. But his mentor Dashiell Hammett, on the other hand, was relatively lucky in the adaptations of his "The Maltese Falcon" (the 1941 version) and "The Glass Key" (1942).

Physically and charm-wise James Garner is close to Philip Marlowe but he has none of Marlowe's critically essential romantic melancholy. That's where Mitchum would excel. And he's a lot more capable of being a hardboiled knight than Garner.

As for a contemporary Marlowe, Clive Owen is (was?) slated to portray him. If George Clooney could effectively dish up melancholy, he'd make a suitable Marlowe. But his almost-too-perfect looks play against him.

Chandler himself in a 1951 letter to a reader-fan said: "If I had ever had an opportunity of selecting the movie actor who could best represent him to my mind, I think it would have been Cary Grant." I'm not too sure how many of today's Chandler fans would agree. Again, too good looking comes to mind. Perhaps the Cary Grant of "None But the Lonely Heart" or "Suspicion"?

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Elizabeth
I can't see why you'd be happy with Bogie as Sam Spade but not as Marlowe and while I liked Alan Ladd in The Glass Key I don't think he'd have made a good Philip Marlowe (not that you were suggesting he would).
Like you, I would have liked to have seen a younger Mitchum play the part but I don't think that would have been perfect either. The only great performances I've seen from Mitchum were when he was playing the baddie (Cape Fear, Night of the Hunter).
If Marlowe is going to remain relevant I think we'll have to let directors update him as they see fit, the way Guy Ritchie plays around with Sherlock Holmes, for example

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

solo, I should have made myself more clear. I meant the novel-to-screenplay adaptations of Hammett's novels, not the actors in the films. I do not particularly like Bogart as either Marlowe or Spade, esp. Spade. And I think it was, historically speaking, unfortunate that Bogart got to portray both Spade and Marlowe. And, yes, Ladd's nobody's idea of Ned Beaumont...

Mitchum as the quintessential world-weary p.i. in "Out of the Past" (trench coat and all) is the Marlowe I see when I read Chandler.

And I'm not really interested in seeing anybody's update of Marlowe or any other period detective. I don't think Marlowe could be made "relevant" to the present. Heck, he was out of place in his own 1940s-50s. Even Chandler himself said many times there would never be a real p.i. the way he wrote Marlowe. There are plenty of contemporary detectives who would make, do make, wonderful novel-to-screen transitions, however.

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Elizabeth
Please forgive the following comments which are likely to turn you stomach.
I watched Out of the Past recently and I thought it was horribly cast.
Jane Greer did not have the balls (pardon me for that expression) to play the part she did. Now, Barbara Stanwyck could have done it in her sleep. And Robert Mitchum playing Jeff Bailey? I could see Fred McMurry playing a weak character like that but R Mitchum? He'd have to have his shoulders decomissioned before he could play a part like that.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The Natural is a good one. I read the book years ago and have not seen the movie, but I was surprised when I heard it had been given a storybook ending.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd agree that George Clooney might have trouble summoning up melancholy. In the matter of his almost-too-perfect looks, you'd have too concede that Humphrey Bogart, more than most other Hollywood stars, avoided that problem. The Clive Owen who was fine in Children of Men, on the other hand, might be too given to melancholy.

In the matter of working against imposing screen predecessors, I thought Robert Downie Jr. did a fine job with Sherlock Holmes.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, that's an interesting comment about Mitchum's best performances having been as villains. A sharper observer than I once suggested that he was a bit languid to be a first-class hard-boiled hero. Maybe that same quality seems weirder, more uncanny, and, hence, more menacing, in a villain.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sounds like it may be time for me to watch "Out of the Past" again.

I like the idea of Mitchum's shoulders being decommissioned. Maybe if Humphrey Bogart's scowl had been similarly decommissioned, "Sabrina" might have been bearable.

January 07, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

As far as Mitchum being "a bit languid to be a first-class hard-boiled hero" I would say that that illustrates my point about how suitable Big Bad Bob was for the role. In the same Chandler letter I mentioned above, RC says "I don't think [Marlowe] looks tough. He can be tough." Mitchum's quiet strength that hints at his potential for menace, even in softer roles, produces that frisson of wondering what he might be capable of. The hardboiled hero in the Philip Marlowe or Lew Archer mold can't be a brutish or thuggish type like Mike Hammer.

As for Bogart, at 5'8" he's just plain too short to fit my image of Marlowe or Spade.

I suppose it's just a matter of personal taste when it comes to putting a face/body to a character in a book. We rely on past experiences, points of reference, etc. and come up with a suitable figure.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And I'm not really interested in seeing anybody's update of Marlowe or any other period detective.

Elisabeth, that's another interesting question: Who (and what) is ripe for adaptation and updating?

January 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Is this an endlessly fascinating question, or just endless? You're dead on about our reliance on past experience. Bogart was famously unlike Hammett's description of Sam Spade as a rather pleasant blond Satan, yet he works as Spade for many viewers and readers.

Incidentally, Joe Gores has some clever fun with Hammett's descripion of Spade's face in his own Maltese Falcon "prequel," Spade and Archer.

At 4'2", John Garfield was too short to fit my image of anything but the lede in a Billy Barty biopic, but he was effective in The Postman Always Rings Twice.

January 08, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I will have to go back and check Gores's description. I enjoyed "Spade and Archer" very much. More than last year's "other" Hammett-starring novel, Ace Atkins's "Devil's Garden."

Ouch! Yes, at 5'7" Garfield was small but his physical build that made him so suitable for those boxing roles helped him overcome that. The slight AND short Alan Ladd had virtually nothing going for him yet he, too, managed to be cast as leads in both Hammett and Chandler films. Ah, the studio system...

January 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

John Garfield was nothing but a name and a pair of elevator shoes to me before I saw "The Postman Always Rings Twice," but he was pretty close to brilliant in the role.

Gores actually has some impish fun with the Sam Spade description. You may recall Hammett describing the V-shapes in Spade's face, something the V of the eyebrows echoing the V of the chin. What Gores does in "Spade and Archer," I think in the same paragraph where he describes Spade, is to lard up the paragraphs with unrelated repetitions of the V theme, something like a ship called the Vicky Victoria and the like. I have just sent away my copy as a prize in a competition, so you'll have to check for me.

I don't think I liked "Spade and Archer" as much as you did, but I love Gores' DKA novels and stories.

January 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I just found it in a post I made about "Spade and Archer."

Here's Hammett:

"Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another smaller, v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by the thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down – from high flat temples – in a point upon his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan."

Here's Gores:

"He had a long bony jaw, a flexible mouth, a jutting chin. His nose was hooked. He was six feet tall, with broad, steeply sloping shoulders. He stayed in the shadows while the scant dozen passengers disembarked from the wooden-hulled steam-powered passenger ferry Virginia V, just in from Seattle via the Colvos Passage. ... The watcher stiffened when the last person off the Virginia V was a solid, broad-shouldered ..."

January 08, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, I went back to the shelf (I purchased and kept "Spade and Archer") to re-read how Gores had described Spade and here you had gone and done all the work for me! I do remember the passage now, and recall how, at the time, I enjoyed the alliteration instead of a description.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, there's no need to read anything if I'm around. Right after I posted my comment, I remembered that I'd written a post about the description. I simply copied the passage from it.

I enjoyed the passage as a reference to the original description of Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon." I don't how I'd have reacted had I not read the earlier book.

January 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

But, you know, in spite of all those V's, what I remember most clearly about Hammett's original description of Spade was that his "yellow-grey eyes were horizontal" -- like a wolf's. The archetypal Hammett detective-as-hunter.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I think the "blond Satan" bit sticks with me most. I've mentioned several times that nostalgia, lack of attention or coarsening of our sensitivity may have robbed Chandler and Hammett of some of their edge. A reminder that Spade has a touch of the satanic is something of an antidote to this.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger The Chosen One said...

I used to love the whole Steve McQueen movie persona until I heard of his squabble over credit placement for 'The Towering Inferno'.
Then I read Robert Polito's Thompson biog., 'Savage Art', and he pissed me off even more.

I had always loved the film since seeing it on its original cinema release and when I read the book,about 20 years ago, and its 'epilog' ending, I thought 'wtf'!!

But it was my introduction to Jim Thompson, and I suppose it was more that it caught me unawares with the ending, but shortly afterwards I saw a wonderful film adaptation, 'The Kill Off', and investigated some more.

The French, unsurprisingly, have done probably the two best Thompson film adapations, - and of his two greatest books, IMO: 'Pop.1280', his Supreme Masterpiece, and 'Hell of A Woman', - which comes close, and also has a brilliant ending.
(both of those books probably make my all-time Crime Novels Top 10)

On the Criterion DVD of 'Coup De Torchon', - his adaptation of Pop.1280, - director Bertrand Tavernier includes an alternate ending and I thought it was wonderful.
The official ending is quite good too, but doesn't quite get the novel.
'Serie Noire' is the film version of 'Hell of A Woman', which I was so anxious to buy that I used an online Dutch-English translation service recently to order from a Belgian DVD supplier.

Incidentally, Jim Thompson plays a minor role in the wonderful 1970s film version of 'Farewell My Lovely'

May 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, McQueen may have been a sensitive sort. Robert Polito was a speaker at the first Noircon in Philaelphia in 2008. I should check to see if he's scheduled to return for Noircon 2010.

Thompson's role in "Farewell My Lovely" is very noir and enjoyable for the dignity he brings to it.

May 16, 2010  
Blogger The Chosen One said...

The impression I got was that he was more a 'diva', than a shy, retiring sort.

That role was a nice homage, or maybe some kind of 'thank you' for another of the great crime writers

May 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm not sure "Jim Thompson" and "diva" turn up together all that often.

Wim Wenders' movie adaptation of Joe Gores' novel "Hammett" is filled with homage cameos and larger performances: Ross Thomas, Sylvia Sidney, Elisha Cook Jr., Samuel Fuller.

May 17, 2010  
Blogger The Chosen One said...

I'm not sure "Jim Thompson" and "diva" turn up together all that often.

No, I was referring to Steve McQueen!

May 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aha! In that case the description may well be apt, since he does seem to have been a touchy sort.

May 17, 2010  
Blogger The Chosen One said...

Wim Wenders' movie adaptation of Joe Gores' novel "Hammett
I was initially disappointed with the film when I saw it on its cinema release although I was more impressed on a recent viewing.
So much so that I have the DVD

And I'm pretty sure I have the novel, stored away somewhere
(unread!)

May 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's an odd-looking movie, all right, but Elisha Cook's performance is worth the price of admission.

May 17, 2010  
Anonymous Lichanos said...

Doing Thompson's ending of The Getaway would be difficult for anyone, true, but the entire film rubbed smooth the razor sharp edges of the characters. Doc and Carol are presented as 1960's anti-heroes. I didn't notice Doc blowing holes in the skulls of any innocent people in the movie - in the book he brutally dispatches many such.

As for my favorite Hollywood twisting of the ending I offer TWO by Pierre Boule. The ending of The Bridge on the River Kwai is changed 180 degrees. The Brit officer kills the commando trying to blow up 'his' bridge - the ultimate irony. In Planet of the Apes, the book, the humans DO escape back to earth, and who greets them on the tarmac? Uniformed apes!

April 29, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd heard that the book had a weird, hallucinogenic ending. Having read only one novel by Thompson when I saw The Getaway, I nonetheless knew that the ending was distinctly not Thompsonlike. I heard or read during the original discussion after I made the post that Steve McQueen may have had a say over the doctoring of the script. I was disappointed to learn this.

Both movie versions of Richard Stark's The Hunter -- Mel Gibson's and even John Boorman's much-lauded version -- do odd things with Stark's ending. And the ending to the movie version of Kiss Me Deadly is so weird that I have to believe it was imposed.

April 29, 2011  

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