Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Books to movies

I watched Gone, Baby, Gone last night. It's a good movie that readers of the book and general viewers should like. Quite a bit of emphasis is placed on the realistic portrayal of Boston, but it is also just a good, twisting tale. I am happy that we now have two (and soon to be three) Dennis Lehane movies, but I think we won't be seeing any more Kenzie Gennaro movies. While I slightly prefer Darkness Take My Hand as a story, Gone, Baby, Gone has much more emotional heft then the other bookds, and it is the climax of the Kenzie-Gennaro story arc. While I would happily watch adaptations of any of these books, I suspect many would feel let down by some of the others.

The counterargument is what happened to the James Lee Burke novels featuring Dave Robicheaux. The first movie came from an early book, Heaven's Prisoners, which was okay, but really a harbinger of greatness to come. That one fell flat and just now are we seeing another Burke movie. This time they are using In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead, a much better story. The focus on race relations will give it buzz as well. In a bit of pop culture referencing, the character of Confederate General John Hood is played by Levon Helm, who sang (but did not write) The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down.

Burke is more prolific, and has been writing longer, than Lehane, so there are lots of books from which to choose. Black Cherry Blues would work and so would Dixie City Jam, which has neo-Nazis as bad guys. Everybody hates neo-Nazis, well, except for this guy running for office in Indiana.

Speaking of books and movies, why, why, why are there no Alan Furst movies? People still like World War 2 and spies don't they? It's true, left-leaning European intellectuals are not that popular in Hollywood, but these are usually Nazi-fighting, spy left leaning European intellectuals. I suspect the main problem is that the books are so heavy on atmospherics and light on plot that they would be hard to translate. I wish someone would try.

No comments: