Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Film It Again

It’s unusual for a brilliant crime novel to be turned into an equally brilliant film. For there to be a re-make of the film that is as good as the original is rare indeed. Kenneth Fearing was a poet who wrote a handful of crime novels. By far the best known is was The Big Clock, which was turned into a first-rate movie starring Ray Milland. The re-make, No Way Out, featured Kevin Costner. It updated the story to the Cold War era, abandoning the magazine empire setting for the Pentagon, and adding an extra twist at the end. I’ve just watched it for a second time and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The temptation to add an extra twist in a re-make is understandable. Yet it is fraught with difficulty. An example of is to be found in Diabolique, starring Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani. This is the 1990s version of Les Diaboliques, based on a novel by Boileau and Narcejac. It begins extremely well, but towards the end, my patience was tested by the contortions of the screenplay. Though Isabelle Adjani is always watchable, to say the very least.


Peter Rozovsky said...

For some reason, we part ways on The Big Clock. I found it somewhat dated for reasons I don't now recall. Perhaps my dissatisfaction is also related to Charles Laughton's over-the-performance.

Oddly enough, Jonathan Latimer, who wrote the screenplay, wrote a similar novel a few years later called Sinners and Shrouds that I quite liked.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Anonymous said...

I loved both versions of No Way Out also -- I think the Kevin Costner version just about wins my vote, as he is so lovely (that scene when he is on the boat with the girlfriend -- unforgettable!)

DOA is another movie in this ilk. I saw both the original (Edward G Robinson, I think?) and the remake (Dennis Quaid) so long ago I am a bit hazy: again they were both excellent, I recall the original was bleaker and perhaps had a more downbeat ending. Highly recommended if you haven't seen it/them.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Maxine. I love the original version of DOA. A bizarre yet stunning movie. Never seen the re-make, but I will look out for it now.