Saturday, June 27, 2009
Watched High Plains Drifter again last night. This time I noticed something in the credits I hadn't before - written by Ernest Tidyman. Tidyman is probably best known as the author of Shaft and its sequels, (the books, mind you), but he also adapted Robin Moore's true crime book The French Connection into a little movie of the same title. While I can appreciate certain elements of the film, (Isaac Hayes for instance), I much prefer the book and think it's been unfairly eclipsed by the movie. Take the opening scene of movie when Shaft is ambushed in his office - in the book he THROWS that motherfucker out the window - in the movie the guy is a dumbass who falls out the window. Changes everything. Of course he wrote the adaptation himself, and won an Academy Award to boot, so what do I know, (also got him a NAACP award - one of the few white folks to have one of those). Anyhow, it got me thinking about books which have for better or worse been eclipsed by their own adaptations. Uh, Mario Puzo's The Godfather, perhaps. Maybe Larry McMurtry's Horseman Pass By - Hud. Not that I'm opposed to it ever happening, but it takes strange forms sometimes - I don't know that film adaptations of Philip K. Dick will ever eclipse his reputation, but jeez they're different creatures than his books and Stephen King's famous disappointment with Stanley Kubrick's The Shining makes you wonder how many terrific takes could there be on the same material. Dunno, just riffing here. Anybody got more?