Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Of Adaptations, Ovations, and Alien Invasions

• Editor Otto Penzler reports on Facebook (of all places) that this coming fall, his Mysterious Press imprint with Grove/Atlantic will publish a book called The Return of the Thin Man. “The great [Dashiell] Hammett scholar Richard Layman and Hammett’s granddaughter, Julie Rivett, have delivered the final manuscript with lots of interesting notes ..,” Penzler explains. The book, he says, will contain “two novella-length stories featuring Nick and Nora Charles (and, yes, Asta) that you’ve never read. They’re really good and the dialogue is even funnier than one would expect.” Sign me up for a copy.

• I’m also excited to hear that cable-TV network TNT is ordering the pilot for a series based on John Buntin’s 2009 non-fiction work, L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City. I loved that book, which dramatizes the real-life confrontations between police chief William Parker and gangster Mickey Cohen, though I can see how it might easily be adapted into just another shallow, violent TV crime drama. Let’s hope director-producer Frank Darabont can resist the urge to dumb down Buntin’s tale.

Grift Magazine has announced the results of its reader nominations for the Best Books of 2011. (The post’s headline actually says 2012, but that would mean somebody has been handing out crystal balls lately--and I didn’t receive one.)

• Meanwhile, British critic Rhian Davies (aka CrimeFicReader) tries her hand at a 2011 end-of-year meme that’s been spreading around the Web for at least the last month. Although Davies declines to answer questions about the “worst” or “most disappointing” books of last year, she gives John Lawton’s A Lily of the Field rather more than its fair share of touts here.

• Another Best Crime Novels of 2011 list, this one from author-reviewer Kevin R. Tipple. And look to Kerrie Smith’s Mysteries in Paradise blog for a compilation of the book titles most often mentioned in Best of 2011 selections.

• Let’s just say that David Foster, who writes the excellent Permission to Kill blog, is quite a bit less fond of the 1973 film The Long Goodbye than I am.

• On the other hand, Margot Kinberg’s review of The Deep Blue Good-by makes me want to pick up and read that John D. MacDonald novel--the first in his Travis McGee series--all over again.

• GOP presidential hopeful Willard Mitt Romney isn’t fairing well in portraying himself as “a man of the people.” Expect to hear this quote a lot in 2012 campaign ads. There’s more about the attacks on Romney’s business record here and here.

This books-oriented video is downright delightful.

• If you haven’t been keeping up with It Couldn’t Happen Here ..., a short-run blog devoted to the 1970s TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, then you’ve definitely been missing out on some fun material. Yesterday’s focus was on the UFOs-oriented episode, “They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be ...” (see here and here), while today’s posts look at Episode No. 4, “The Vampire” (written by David Chase!), which inevitably refers back to the 1972 Movie of the Week that started the whole Kolchak craze, The Night Stalker.

• American composer Thomas Newman has been chosen to score the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall. Newman previously created the music for such films as The Green Mile, Road to Perdition, Angels in America, The Good German, and The Adjustment Bureau.

• Somehow, in all of the recent holiday rush, I missed spotting Robert Lewis’ tribute to The Rockford Files, which was posted the same day as star James Garner’s very entertaining memoir, The Garner Files, was released by Simon & Schuster.

• Sony Pictures plans to go ahead with more movies based on Stieg Larsson’s thriller trilogy, even though the recently released, English-language film adapted from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hasn’t performed as well as expected at the box office.

Raymond Chandler gives Alfred Hitchcock a piece of his mind.

• Interviews worth checking out: UK wordsmith R.J. Ellory clues us in on his next novel, A Dark and Broken Heart; Victorian crime-concocter Kate Williams introduces us to The Pleasures of Men; Northern Ireland writer Gerard Brennan gives Paul S. Brazill the lowdown on Wee Rockets; Paul Malmont discusses his new, science-fictiony thriller, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown; and a new video shows Irish author Ken Bruen talking about his work and inspiration.

• The filming of a movie sequel to Fox-TV’s 24 begins this spring.

• And a news release from PulpFest 2012 explains that the convention, which is scheduled to take place in August in Columbus, Ohio, will commemorate “the 100th anniversary of two of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most famous creations: Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars. While Tarzan is the better known of the two, John Carter came first, appearing in the novel, ‘Under the Moons of Mars,’ published in the February 1912 issue of The All-Story, a pulp magazine published by the Munsey Company.”


John Kenyon said...

Thanks for the plug (and the copyediting catch) for the Grift list. The headline has been changed to reflect the look-back nature of the post, rather than forecasting the future.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

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