Some of my work on Updike was discussed on The Dish with Andrew Sullivan.
Some of my work on Ross Macdonald was discussed on Pretty Sinister Books.
Here is my interview with superstar music impresario Wendy Starland.
Here is my interview with Pulitzer Prize nominee Olympia Vernon.
Here is my interview with the editor of Best American Short Stories, Heidi Pitlor.
Here is my interview with acclaimed artist Emil Kazaz.
My musing on John D. Macdonald, Travis McGee, and the chicks was picked up on The Rap Sheet.

Page & Screen: A Simple Plan

Adaptation Studies is, of course, an enormously complicated subject way beyond the scope of a blog.  (Here is a link to an authoritative journal, for the curious  )

History is littered with the corpses of horrible adaptations, and probably some good ones; heaven only knows how many authors have been disappointed by cinematic adaptations of their plays, novels or stories.  Stephen King's dissatisfaction with Kubrick's version of THE SHINING is well known.  The filmed version of Joseph Wambaugh's first novel, THE NEW CENTURIONS, is so bad it is beyond my descriptive capacities of articulation.  And so on and so on, ad infinitum. 

One wonders how Scott Smith must have felt about changing critical details of his extremely dark  novel A SIMPLE PLAN in order to adapt it for the screen.  True, it remains a very dark story in either version, but Sam Raimi's watered down film softens the moral and psychological blows considerably.  One is mystified to see the remark in the Wikipedia article that the movie is thought to be " an improvement upon the book it is based on."  Talk about WTF?!

A very brief comment: that a man claiming to be an FBI agent would show up at a local law enforcement office and not be asked for any kind of identification whatsoever is simply beyond belief, no matter how much of a stereotypical ignorant redneck hick the local sheriff has been depicted as; in the novel Smith handles this in a much more sophisticated way - it requires some work on the reader's part - than Raimi does in the film.  And it makes sense in a way the film's handling does not.

The only in depth, scholarly type of article I can find anywhere on the work, by Jane Hill, is interested in twisting the film into being some kind of negative comment on capitalism and the American Dream.  Be that as it may.  There are innumerable stories that deserve a good, in depth, exhaustive look for a Page & Screen comparison.  This is doubtlessly one of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment