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Author Topic: Elmore Leonard & Film  (Read 21337 times)

smirnoff

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2010, 05:55:06 PM »

"You got a cigarette?"
"No, I don't."
"What's the square thing in your pocket?"
"That's a square thing in my pocket."

It's humorous little conversations like that make the book a fun read. Unfortunately, those same conversations are what made this movie kind of bleh. It takes a certain kind of delivery to make those lines work. Why they cast the oafish Ryan O'Neal is beyond me. He's not exactly Mr. Charisma. I think they just liked his six-pack or something. Then again, they cast Leigh Taylor-Young for her looks too, and that I don't have a problem with. ;)


The book I enjoyed. It's not great but perfectly readable. There's lots of fringe characters, and all of them are scheming bastards. Leonard references himself in one part, and has a scene where the character is watching The Tall T. It made me feel special for getting the reference ;)

Unless it's on TV and you're desperate this is a film to avoid. It's just not good. Not as an adaptation and not on it's own terms.

The Book
                                     
The Movie

michael x

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2010, 06:02:40 PM »
Nudity! Are you planning to watch the remake with Owen Wilson?

smirnoff

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2010, 07:46:33 PM »
Nudity! Are you planning to watch the remake with Owen Wilson?

You bet! Not sure why I forgot to include that one in the first post. I don't have super high hopes for it, but it could be fun.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2010, 11:09:54 PM »
smirnoff knows what the people want.

smirnoff

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2010, 07:25:43 PM »


"Some things a man can't ride around."

One of the side benefits of this marathon is that I've now discovered director Budd Boetticher, something of an unsung hero in the western genre. With The Tall T and Seven Men From Now I'm only just getting started, but what I've seen so far I've liked. The stories aren't epic and the filmmaking isn't fancy. What you get from Budd is short, simple, and well-constructed. A man turning out movies just the way he wants 'em. Or at least that's how it feels. And since recently buying the Boetticher boxset which includes interviews with guys like Eastwood, Tarantino and Scorsese I'm really excited about watching the rest of his work. It fun to hear what they had to say about The Tall T, and for the most part I agreed with them.

So about the film now. I quite enjoyed it. Once again Leonard's short story provided the foundation upon which the movie was built. The character backstory which is handled with dialogue in the book is actually played out for us in the film. We first see our hero Pat Brennan as he weaves his horse through the rocky terrain seen in the frame above. As we get to know him better we learn he's jovial amongst his friends, stoic amongst his enemies and always calm under pressure.



He's played wonderfully by Randolph Scott, who for a western hero is slightly older than the norm. His age gives him an 'old master' quality though, and combines well with his gentleman looks. The story is that of a waylaid stagecoach, on which Scott is hitching a ride home. The would be robbers, it turns out, have mistaken this coach for one that was to come an hour later. One that would have a lot of money on board. At first it looks as if they'll just kill Scott and his companions, but when it's discovered that the female passenger is the daughter of a rich man they decide to improvise.

One of the things I really loved about this film was the the little details that show an understanding for living the western lifestyle. Early in the film when Scott rides in on a tired horse. A kid greets Scott and then goes to fetch some watch for his animal. His father says "Mind you don't let him drink to much, Jeff, warm like he is" and the kid responds "You know I'm gunna walk him first, Pa." Little things like that, things I simply wouldn't know about caring for a horse but love to learn (even if I'm never going to put the information to good use). What surprised me is that detail actually came from Leonard and not Boetticher, who was a genuine bull fighter and man of the west. It goes to show, Leonard knows his stuff, or at least does good research.


Other things I loved... The terrain. It had a lot of character. I also liked the practical stuff like seeing what they ate and drank. It seems like everyone can't get enough coffee in this movie. Seriously, there are like 20 mentions of coffee. Good coffee, bad coffee, hot coffee, cold coffee... whatever. There was a similar thing going on in Seven Men From Now. It's as if coffee was just as important to the wild west as six-shooters & saddle-bags (hey, that's a good title for a marathon!).




All in all I thoroughly enjoyed both the film and the short story. Out of the movies so far I'd say this was closest to what I imagined while reading.

The Book
                                     
The Movie

smirnoff

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2010, 08:06:07 AM »
       
-straightforward story
-good dialogue
-unique scenarios
-distinct characters

-Burt Lancaster is too old
-very bland style
-doesn't do the villain justice
-action was so-so


I'm still waiting to read a Leonard book that knocks me on my ass. So far they've all be good or decent, but not great.

oneaprilday

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2010, 10:48:12 AM »
Not sure how I missed this thread until now! :(

Anyway, great reading so far. Especially loved your write-up on 3:10 to Yuma. I enjoyed the remake, but the original is great.

smirnoff

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2010, 11:06:55 AM »
Thanks OAD :)

Not sure how I missed this thread until now! :(

Heh yeah, well there's a lot of marathons going on these days. It's easy to do. :)

smirnoff

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2010, 12:17:09 PM »
Joe Kidd
(John Sturges, 1972)

Not too good. It has a bit of an odd plot. Joe Kidd is stuck in the middle of a Mexican Revolution and the wealthy land owner who wants to break it up. Itís a bit like a union-busting story played out in the wild west. That could be interesting, but the politics and philosphy of these things isnít really explored or discussed.

Joe Kidd is a gunman and a tracker. Heís hired by Robert Duvallís character (Frank Harlan) to track down the leader of the Mexican revolutionaries, Luis Chama (played by John Saxon, who I eventually recognized from Enter the Dragon). At first Kidd is set on killing Chama himself, but then after he meets the man he switches sides. Now he has Harlan in his crosshairs.

As for Elmore Leonard, he wrote this screenplay specifically for the big screen. I can see the potential, what with all the different parties involved, but unfortunately the final product just didn't come alive. The dialogue has a similar feel to that of the other Westerns he's written, but also it's fairly typical of the genre in general. Nothing spectacular.

In the end I didnít find this film had much to offer. A few decent scenes of dialogue between Eastwood and Duvall, but no real memorable lines. The score was interesting. It was done by Lalo Schifrin, also involved with Enter the Dragon, and they sound very similar. Iím not sure it really fits, but itís certainly of its time. Other than that... hmm.

Hereís Eastwood looking cool with a scattergun.


And now with a revolver.


And here he is killing guys using no guns at all.









Good scenary in this movie, but horrid image quality.


Summary: I think Joe Kidd can safely be skipped, both for better Leonard stories AND better Eastwood movies.
John Sturges has probably also directed better movies than this, I just haven't seen 'em yet.


dheaton

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Re: Elmore Leonard & Film
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2010, 04:28:54 PM »
This is great so far.  I had no idea Leonard contributed to this many films.  I'm more familiar with the recent stuff. 
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