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Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.


La-La Land has announced two new releases this week -- a 25th anniversary expanded edition of David Newman's score for the cult favorite kids movie THE SANDLOT, featuring more than 40 minutes of music not included in Varese's earlier release of the score; and KING COHEN, a Blu-Ray of the new documentary on the life of genre filmmaker Larry Cohen which includes a CD of the film's original score by Joe Kraemer (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher, The Way of the Gun).


Intrada has successfully concluded their Kickstarter campaign to fund a new recording of Dimitri Tiomkin's score for Alfred Hitchcock's 3D thriller DIAL M FOR MURDER, with 404 backers pledging an impressive $49,313 for the project, surpassing the label's goal. The final CD is hoped to be ready in June of next year. 


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Deep Blue Sea 2
 - Sean Murray - Dragon's Domain
Grizzly
 - Robert O. Ragland - Dragon's Domain
King Cohen [with Blu-Ray] - Joe Kraemer - La-La Land
The Ninth Passenger
 - Scott Glasgow - Howlin' Wolf
The Sandlot - David Newman - La-La Land


IN THEATERS TODAY

All About Nina - John Dragonetti
At First Light - Edo Vanbreemen
Bad Reputation - Jacques Brautbar - Soundtrack CD on SMG
Bisbee ‘17 - Keegan DeWitt
Black 47 - Brian Byrne
Cruise - Jay Wadley
Free Solo - Marco Beltrami
Hell Fest - Bear McCreary
Hold the Dark - Brooke Blair, Will Blair
The Last Suit - Federico Jusid
Maggie Black - Gary Gunn
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. - Dhani Harrison, Paul Hicks
Maximum Impact - Sean Murray
Monsters and Men - Kris Bowers
Museo - Tomas Barreiro
Night School - David Newman
The Old Man & the Gun - Daniel Hart - Score CD due Oct. 5 on Varese Sarabande
Smallfoot - Heitor Pereira - Score CD on WaterTower
Tea with the Dames - no composer credited; score includes tracked-in Nino Rota music from Amarcord

COMING SOON

October 5
King of Thieves - Benjamin Wallfisch - Milan (import)
The Old Man & the Gun 
- Daniel Hart - Varese Sarabande
Smallfoot
 - Heitor Pereira - WaterTower
Venom - Ludwig Goransson - Sony [CD-R]
October 12
Black Mirror: Arkangel - Mark Isham - Fire (import)
Carter Burwell: Music for Film
 - Carter Burwell - Silva
First Man
 - Justin Hurwitz - Backlot
Fletch
 - Harold Faltermeyer, songs - Varese Sarabande
Girl - Valentin Hadjadj - Deutsche Grammophon (import)
The Girl in the Spider's Web - Roque Banos - Sony (import)
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Vince Guaraldi - Varese Sarabande
La Venere di Cheronea
 - Giovanni Fusco - Digitmovies
Salvare La Faccia
 - Benedetto Ghiglia - Digitmovies
Zorro
 - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis - Digitmovies
October 19
Halloween 
- John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies - Sacred Bones
The Hate U Give - Dustin O'Halloran - Milan
Mandy 
- Johann Johannsson - Lakeshore
The Song of Sway Lake - Ethan Gold - Electrik Gold
October 26
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
 - Nate Heller - Verve
Our House - Mark Korven - Lakeshore
Suspiria - Thom Yorke - XL Recordings
November 2
Boy Erased - Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans - Backlot
December 7 
Under the Silver Lake - Disasterpeace - Milan
Date Unknown
Batteries Not Included
 - James Horner - Intrada Special Collection
Carles Cases Styles
 - Carles Cases - Rosetta
Deshabitados
 - Manel Gil-Inglada - Rosetta
Madly 
- Francis Lai - Music Box
Red/Family
 - Soren Hyldgaard - Kritzerland
Yucatan
 - Roque Banos - Saimel


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

September 28 - Evan Lurie born (1954)
September 28 - Leith Stevens begins recording his score for The Scarlet Hour (1955)
September 28 - Laurent Petitgand born (1959)
September 28 - John Williams records his score for the Lost in Space episode "The Hungry Sea" (1965)
September 28 - Geoff Zanelli born (1974)
September 28 - Miles Davis died (1991)
September 28 - John Williams begins recording his score to Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
September 28 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Relics” (1992)
September 29 - Mike Post born (1944)
September 29 - Manuel Balboa born (1958)
September 29 - Theodore Shapiro born (1971)
September 29 - John Barry begins recording his score for First Love (1976)
September 29 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Survivors” (1989)
September 30 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for Young Bess (1952)
September 30 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score to The View From Pompey's Head (1955)
September 30 - Marty Stuart born (1958)
September 30 - Lyn Murray records his score for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Lonely Place” (1964)
September 30 - Jack Urbont records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Wheels” (1966)
September 30 - Andrew Gross born (1969)
September 30 - Artie Kane records his score for The New Adventures of Wonder Woman episode “Knockout” (1977)
September 30 - Richard Einhorn begins recording his score to Dead of Winter (1986)
September 30 - Virgil Thomson died (1989)
October 1 - Irwin Kostal born (1911)
October 1 - Elia Cmiral born (1950)
October 1 - George Duning begins recording his score to The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959)
October 1 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score to The Prize (1963)
October 1 - Ernst Toch died (1964)
October 1 - Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Operation Rogosh” (1966)
October 1 - Ron Goodwin begins recording his score to Where Eagles Dare (1968)
October 1 - Johannes Kobilke born (1973)
October 1 - Dave Grusin begins recording his score for Falling in Love (1984)
October 1 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Haven” (1987)
October 1 - Dennis McCarthy records his scores for the Star Trek: Enterprise episodes “Impulse”  and “Twilight” (2003)
October 2 - Leroy Shield born (1893)
October 2 - Bruce Montgomery born (1921)
October 2 - Eric Demarsan born (1938)
October 2 - Bernard Herrmann marries his first wife, writer Lucille Fletcher (1939)
October 2 - Damon Gough born (1969)
October 2 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Visitor” (1995)
October 2 - Recording sessions begin on Nathan Barr's score to Hostel (2005)
October 3 - Roy Webb born (1888)
October 3 - Nick Glennie-Smith born (1951)
October 3 - Arnold Bax died (1953)
October 3 - Jeff Alexander begins recording his unused score to Saddle the Wind (1957)
October 3 - Bernard Herrmann begins recording his score for Tender Is the Night (1961)
October 3 - Robert Drasnin records his score for the Lost in Space episode "The Thief from Outer Space" (1966)
October 3 - Gerald Fried records his score for the Lost in Space episode "Collision of Planets" (1967)
October 3 - Johnny Mandel begins recording his unused score to The Seven-Ups (1973)
October 3 - Harry Sukman begins recording his score for Salem’s Lot (1979)
October 3 - Stu Phillips begins recording his score for the two-part Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “The Plot to Kill a City” (1979)
October 3 - Shirley Walker begins recording her score for Turbulence (1996)
October 3 - Dennis McCarthy begins recording his score for Star Trek: Generations (1994)
October 3 - Richard Bellis records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The House of Quark” (1994)
October 4 - Bernard Herrmann records his score for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode "You'll Be the Death of Me" (1963)
October 4 - John Williams begins recording his score to Penelope (1966)
October 4 - Shawn Clement born (1968)
October 4 - BT born Brian Transeau (1970)
October 4 - George Romanis records his only Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “The Visitors” (1971)
October 4 - Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Sunset (1987)

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

ANTHROPOID - Robin Foster

"Ellis, a short film Oscar nominee whose previous big screen efforts include the 2008 horror film 'The Broken' and 2013’s 'Metro Manilla,' shows great skill here in choreographing the attack on Heydric and the defense of the church. What these resistance fighters were able to do was truly inspiring and Ellis, who up until this point has mistakenly used minimal score, collaborates with composer Robin Foster for an emotional finale that packs a punch. In different hands this particular sequence could have succumbed to predictable cliché, but 'Anthropoid' surprises by giving these heroes a genuine and heartbreaking send off. For some, that alone might make the long wait to get there worthwhile."
 
Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist

THE FENCER - Gert Wilden Jr.
 
"The suspense operates on two fronts, smartly juxtaposing Endel’s fugitive status with the climactic competition, the outcome of which is handled in plausible, modestly rousing fashion. The team’s performance is understood to be an individual as well as collective achievement, one that would not have come about in the absence of one man’s singular ingenuity and determination. Avandi provides a solid narrative anchor as the soft-spoken hero, and his performance falls in line with the respectfully restrained tenor of the entire production, also borne out by the somber grace notes of Gert Wilden Jr.’s score and the gray, muted colors of d.p. Tuomo Hutri’s widescreen lensing. Jaagup Roomet’s sets and Tiina Kaukanen’s costumes suitably capture the deprivations of the period."
 
Justin Chang, Variety

"In its final act, 'The Fencer' becomes a race against time as Nelis and his plucky team fight a heavily symbolic battle against an army of better trained, better funded Russian rivals. At this point the film stops being 'Dead Poets Society' and turns into a classic underdog sports drama in the spirit of 'The Bad News Bears.' No spoilers, but the outcome is never really in doubt, given how crudely Haro draws his spirited Estonian heroes and brutish Russian villains. Gert Wilden’s bombastic score cranks up several gears here, directing audience sympathies with a sledgehammer touch."
 
Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter
 
HELL OR HIGH WATER - Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

"Does Sheridan’s script hit its themes too hard? Maybe. There’s at least one too many lines about banks robbing ordinary folks. But there are no -- thank God -- visual allusions to John Ford’s film of 'The Grapes of Wrath,' which turned the Joad family into icons of working-class integrity under duress. Mackenzie comes to the West with no evident interest in the kind of 'mythic' outlaws or lawmen who have obfuscated so much of American history while firing the loins of auteurist film critics. The score, by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, is free-floating in its sadness. It conjures up a mood -- gorgeously -- not a meaning."
 
David Edelstein, New York
 
"'Hell or High Water' leaps right into the action with an opening robbery in which masked assailants Toby (Pine) and Tanner (Foster) clean out a bank in broad daylight before speeding off to the desert, where they promptly bury their getaway vehicle. That ritual repeats itself several times, with the pair constantly on the move and evading authorities every step of the way. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens emphasizes the sweltering heat with a bright desert canvas, while the twangy score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis keeps the pace moving at a vibrant clip."
 
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

"Racial identity and the history of the West are both part of the complex backdrop Sheridan uses to highlight the Howards' situation, but 'Hell or High Water' keeps its story and images stark and straightforward. This is a beautifully shot film, and cinematographer Giles Nuttgens (also Mackenzie's partner on 'Young Adam,' 'Asylum,' 'Hallam Foe,' and the swoony, sensual 'Perfect Sense') makes West Texas' run-down towns and naked rocky plains look tragic and lonely. In his lens, Pine and Foster are as hard and enduring as the landscape. A witness to one of their crimes describes them both as 'lean like cowboys,' which more or less sums up the whole film: there isn't a wasted moment here. It's taut and driven, focused on establishing a mournful tone and building up to a series of regrets that will claim the entire cast. Music by Nick Cave and his longtime musical partner Warren Ellis helps immensely."
 
Tasha Robinson, The Verge

"Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan previously wrote 'Sicario,' an intense thriller set amid the quagmire of the drug war as it's fought on the U.S.-Mexico border. 'Hell or High Water' replaces that film's crackling menace with a more elemental sense of tragedy. Australian goth-rockers Nick Cave and Warren Ellis supplied the mournful score, though there are songs from great chroniclers of Americana like Townes Van Zandt and Gillian Welch, too. They're of a piece with the pith and observance of the story."
 
Chris Klimek, NPR
 
"The cumulative effect, when blended with mournful shots of the dust-strewn landscape and a haunting score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, is to place the movie in a recognizable realm. There’s a real sense of desperation embedded in the core of the picture, so that when violence comes it serves as less of a visceral thrill than the climax of a meditation on hopelessness set beneath vast and sunny skies."
 
Robert Levin, AM New York
 
"This West Texas crime movie barrels in with the force of a full-gale dust storm over the flat, dry plains of our parched movie summer. 'Hell or High Water' is a good but not great movie with sensational lead performances that elevate it to enjoyably memorable status. Add to that a pleasing soundtrack composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and stunning cinematography by Giles Nuttgens, who has made several previous movies with David Mackenzie ('Young Adam' being the standout), and 'Hell or High Water' has what we need to quench our summer cinema drought."
 
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle 
 
"To get this particular balance just where he wants it, Mackenzie doesn’t just rely on Sheridan’s rich screenplay. Musical stalwarts of the modern western, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, score the film with their usual penchant for melancholic strings and sombre timbres. Then you have the wonderful side-characters (and the biggest reason why I say the film resembles a Coens-esque vibe), local Texans who are proud of their guns and have no shame in giving their what’s what on particular situations. One stand-out scene involves an elderly 'rattlesnake of a waitress' (Margaret Bowman) who’s so wonderfully real in the way she deals with Marcus and Alberto that I’d dare say she’s the film’s gleeful highlight."
 
Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist
 
"There’s an early scene, for instance, where taciturn Pine shows Foster the now empty room where he tended to their terminally ill mother while the latter was in jail, the virtually derelict remainder of the ranch betraying a long losing battle still very much readable in Pine’s revelatory performance. Here’s a character not disposed to giving much away -- indeed, director David Mackenzie adeptly plays one key emotional moment as he looks away from the camera entirely -- but Pine lets us know that his sense of criminal purpose comes from a simmering anger and resentment at having played his life by the rules only to find himself with nothing to show for it. Elsewhere, as the camera travels through small towns peppered with vacant retail units, and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s score delivers its own knowing take on honky-tonk melancholy, we certainly sense a bitterness in the air from communities feeling left behind."
 
Trevor Johnston, Sight and Sound

"Shot in New Mexico, the film has an atmospheric sense of place that owes much to Giles Nuttgens' handsome cinematography and eloquent framing. From the expansive exteriors of endless flat land soaked in sleepy sunlight, beneath vast canopies of low-hanging clouds, to the warmly lit interiors, there are constant visual pleasures. Melancholy shots of half-dead towns with their weathered storefronts, abandoned pastures scattered with rusted farm equipment, and fields where cattle once grazed, now given over to oil derricks pecking at the ground, make the movie an elegy for a lost way of life. And with it, a defining regional identity. Also enhancing those images and that theme is the somber scoring of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, whose music has often served as an expressive bridge between the Old and New West."
 
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew BeverlyNuart and UCLA.

September 28
MY SWEET LITTLE VILLAGE (Jiri Sust), SECLUDED NEAR WOODS (Jiri Sust) [UCLA]
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (Dimitri Tiomkin), SHADOW OF A DOUBT (Dimitri Tiomkin) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper) [Nuart]

September 29
AKIRA (Yamashiro Shoji) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
CAPRICIOUS SUMMER (Jiri Sust), CUTTING IT SHORT (Jiri Sust) [UCLA]
DEAD RINGERS (Howard Shore) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (Bernard Herrmann), THE WRONG MAN (Bernard Herrmann) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THEY CAME FROM WITHIN, RABID, THE BROOD (Howard Shore), SCANNERS (Howard Shore) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

September 30
BATTLE OF THE BULGE (Benjamin Frankel) [Arclight Hollywood]
BUBBA HO-TEP (Brian Tyler) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE FLY (Howard Shore), NAKED LUNCH (Howard Shore) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
FRENZY (Ron Goodwin), FAMILY PLOT (John Williams) [Cinematheque: Aero]

October 1
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Charles Bernstein) [Arclight Santa Monica]
THE OMEN (Jerry Goldsmith) [Arclight Hollywood]
VIDEODROME (Howard Shore), EXISTENZ (Howard Shore) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

October 2
ALIEN RESURRECTION (John Frizzell) [LACMA]
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (Elmer Bernstein) [Arclight Culver City]
THE BLOB (Michael Hoenig) [Arclight Hollywood]
MANIAC (Jay Chattaway) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
ROSEMARY'S BABY (Christopher Komeda) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]

October 3
FLASH GORDON (Queen, Howard Blake) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
ROSEMARY'S BABY (Christopher Komeda) [Arclight Hollywood]

October 4
AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES (Rick Conrad), AMITYVILLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME (Daniel Licht) [Laemmle Monica]
AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES (Rick Conrad), AMITYVILLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME (Daniel Licht) [Laemmle NoHo]
CRASH (Howard Shore), SPIDER (Howard Shore) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (Javier Navarrete) [Laemmle NoHo]
THE DEVIL'S BRIDE (James Bernard) [Arena Cinelounge]
THE LAST OF SHEILA (Billly Goldenberg) [Laemmle Royal - DVD projection]
THE MONSTER SQUAD (Bruce Broughton) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

October 5
BEETLEJUICE (Danny Elfman) [Nuart]
CHICAGO (John Kander, Danny Elfman), STEP BROTHERS (Jon Brion) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (Howard Shore) [Arclight Hollywood]

October 6
BLACK CHRISTMAS (Carl Zittrer), HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter) [Cinemathque: Egyptian]
MAGNOLIA (Jon Brion) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SCREAM (Marco Beltrami) [Arclight Hollywood]

October 7
ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (Bruno Nicolai) [Cinemathque: Egyptian]
DJANGO (Luis Bacalov) [Cinemathque: Egyptian]
DOBERMAN COP (Kenjiro Hirose) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
GRAND PRIX (Maurice Jarre) [Arclight Hollywood]
A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (Luciano Berio) [Cinematheque: Aero]
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE [Arclight Hollywood]


THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED RECENTLY

As with my CD listening, my reading time reduced dramatically when I started my full-time day job. During the 1990s, coming off a successful screenwriting career I had time and money (well, I had money some of the time), and so I bought lots of books, and had time to read about two a week. These days, I still have all those unread books (and kept many of the ones I did read -- as with all things, I'm a collector/hoarder), but practically the only time I end up reading is when riding public transportation across L.A., usually once a week.

In my early teens, I would buy lots of novelizations, particularly the spin-off books from TV series like (of course) Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., though I suspect that except for the Trek books I probably never got around to reading any of them. As an adult, I can barely imagine wanting to read a novelization, with odd exceptions like The Last Days of Disco, which filmmaker Whit Stillman himself turned into a novel years after the release of his film, or the two novelizations written by the great Jim Thompson (Ironside and The Undefeated).

Given how intensely cinematic Sergio Leone's classic Man With No Name Westerns are, I was surprised to learn that there were paperback novelizations published for all three movies. And I only learned about these novels because I came across free copies of the five additional sequel novels -- A Coffin Full of Dollars, A Dollar to Die For, The Devil's Dollar Sign, The Million-Dollar Bloodhunt and Blood For a Dirty Dollar. 

So far I've read the first one and most of the second one, and they're really not bad. They're more elaborately plotted than the movies -- it's hard to fill many pages with "they stared at each other across the dry landscape" -- and in the first book I found myself mentally editing The Man's dialogue to give it more authentic Clint terseness.

A Dollar to Die For is sort of a combined sequel to the movie Juarez -- it involves a hunt for gold intended to free Emperor Maximilian from a Mexican prison before his planned execution -- and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as it finds The Man once more at odds with "The Ugly" Tuco.

As with my CD listening and DVD/Blu-Ray viewing, I of course have a convoluted system of what books to read next, to keep from having to waste time deciding among the dozens or possibly hundreds of unread books I've accumulated over the years. I put my most recent purchases towards the top of the list -- my theory is if that I'm not ready to read it soon than there's no reason for me to buy it right now -- which is why the Man books moved ahead of books that have gone unread since the mid-90s.

There are a handful of favorite writers whose latest books I will automatically purchase and read, and most of my favorites have been surprisingly prolific lately, particularly Ann Beattie, Richard Russo, David Sedaris and Anne Tyler (who has a new one I need to pick up), and even the late Michael Crichton had a previously unpublished novel out recently, the period adventure Dragon Teeth.

With the books I've had for a long time, the choice of what to read next is fairly random, determined largely by the alphabet. A truly excellent short story collection by Evan S. Connell (Mrs. Bridge, Mr. Bridge, Son of the Morning Star) was followed a remarkably bad medical thriller by Robin Cook, Mortal Fear. (True, you shoudn't expect the protagonist of a medical thriller to realize right away that they are in a medical thriller, but when the reader is hundreds of pages ahead of the hero in understanding what is going on, the hero is bound to seem like an idiot, and the utterly improbable conspiracy didn't help).

There are a handful of favorite authors I read most regularly -- specifically Philip K. Dick, George V. Higgins and Elmored Leonard, but my principal reading these days -- or rather, re-reading -- are the "Dortmunder" comic caper novels of Donald E. Westlake, and the darker "Parker" heist novels by Westlake's alter ego, Richard Stark. Westlake's comic style is notably hard to pull off on film; several of the books have been made into movies, including Bank Shot, Jimmy the Kid, Why Me? and What's the Worst That Could Happen, but only The Hot Rock came close to what Westlake achieves on the page, and Redford was much too much a traditional movie star to be anything like the character Westlake created.

My true favorites are the Parker novels, which are now possibly better remembered than the Dortmunders because of all the films they inspired, including Point Blank, The Split, Made in USA, The Outfit, Payback and Parker, the only film in which the character keeps his name -- other screen "Parkers" have included Walker (Lee Marvin), McClain (Jim Brown), Macklin (Robert Duvall) and Porter (Mel Gibson).

I cannot recommend the Parker novels highly enough Right now I am reading them for the third time, and enjoying them even more than ever. The one I finished most recently, Slayground, is one of the most cinematic in the series -- it's essentially Die Hard in an abandoned amusement part, published eight years before Nothing Lasts Forever, the Roderick Thorp novel (and sequel to The Detective) that was brought to the screen as Die Hard, initiating a brand-new action subgenre. The one incredibly frustrating thing about Slayground is that it has already been filmed -- five years before Die Hard, with Peter Coyote as "Stone" and directed by Monty Python and the Holy Grail's great cinematographer Terry Bedford -- and it was a total botch, one of the worst Parker adaptations ever, which barely even uses the Die Hard gimmick.

Though some of the Parkers have direct connections to the others in the series -- the somewhat unresolved ending of Slayground is wrapped up in Butcher's Moon, the epic final book in the first set of Parkers -- one can easily pick up any book in the series and start there.

There is one other subset on my fiction reading list.  I have a special fondness for used book stores that have shelves of movie tie-in books -- though many of these are novelizations, they also have plenty of novels that have gone largely unpublished (and probably unread) since their film versions were released decades ago. So among the books I've read in the last several years are The Blue Max, Castle Keep, The Dirty Dozen, The Evil That Men Do, Inside Daisy Clover, The Last Detail, Murphy's War, The Naked Runner, Report to the Commissioner, Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York, and The Siege at Trencher's Farm (adapted as Straw Dogs).

If nothing else, all of them were much better than Robin Cook's Mortal Fear.

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Comments (5):Log in or register to post your own comments
Davis Grubb's THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER has almost never been out of print, and is as well worth reading now as it was when Charles Laughton and Paul Gregory discovered and filmed it.

I recently finished Butcher's Moon and am taking what I think is an appropriate little break before launching into Comeback. This is my first time through the Parker series and they are really addicting.

I have a fondness for collecting paperbacks related to Natalie Wood movies and remember really enjoying Inside Daisy Clover.

The "Parker" novels are brilliant and fast reads. I still haven't read any of the "comeback" novels That Richard Stark published starting in the late 90's, but I'll get around to them someday.

Ironically, it was reading the liner notes of the excellent FSM release of Quincy Jones' awesome score to The Split that made me interested in reading the books in the first place. Thanks, Scott...! :cool:

The contemporary series of Parker novels that began with Comeback are quite good, though I do miss the leanness of the original series.

The first batch of titles of the new books all connect -- Comeback, Backflash, Flashfire, Firebreak, Breakout -- so I thought Westlake might bring them full circle and conclude with "Outcome," but instead there was Nobody Runs Forever (which would have been a great title to end the series on), Ask the Parrot and Dirty Money.

Lee Marvin was an ideal choice for the character. The Outfit may be the most faithful adaptation and Westlake was a fan of it, but Robert Duvall doesn't have the pulp-novel-cover handsome masculinity that I associate with the character (whom one critic amusingly described as "an autistic bank robber").

Point Blank is certainly the best film from the books for many reasons, and as a child of the Bay Area, the San Francisco scenes gives me special nostalgia -- in high school I made a super 8 James Bond parody at Fort Point, where the finale was shot (that ending isn't actually set at Alcatraz, despite what some people assume).

Jason Statham was an apt choice despite the Britishness, and I think Jon Hamm would be terrific in the part -- he really looks like a man from a '60s paperback cover. Hamm would also make a great Matt Helm if they actually adapted the Donald Hamilton books instead of doing whatever the hell it was they did with those '60s movies (which have their own distinct charm, but are kind of like adapting James Bond novels as Get Smart episodes).

I'm interested in seeing how Parker's methods might have evolved with the times in the 90's books. And I haven't seen the Statham, but again I wonder how cellphone culture would afffect Parker's methodology.

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