literature


"The crowd milled indignantly in the small Dayroom, everybody talking excitedly. Stark posted himself huskily in the doorway with Pete and the Chief flanking him. Warden gulped off the rest of the coffee and set the cop on the magazine rack and pushed his way down to the other end and climbed up on the pingpong table." (p 731)

“The crowd milled indignantly in the small Dayroom, everybody talking excitedly. Stark posted himself huskily in the doorway with Pete and the Chief flanking him. Warden gulped off the rest of the coffee and set the cop on the magazine rack and pushed his way down to the other end and climbed up on the pingpong table.” (p 731)

My Top 7:

  1. From Here to Eternity
  2. Stalag 17
  3. The Big Heat
  4. The Moon is Blue
  5. The Actress
  6. Peter Pan
  7. Hondo

Note:  After a few years with more than 10 screenplays on my list, I can’t do more than seven in this year.
Note:  This is the earliest year where significant records exist at oscars.org (there are a few for 1952 and even this year is incomplete in strange waves).  One of the great things about oscars.org is that it lists original sources (you can actually look up everything in a particular year with a source author) and it makes it much easier to distinguish between original and adapted scripts. (more…)

STANLEY [with heaven-splitting violence]: STELL-LAHHHHH!

STANLEY [with heaven-splitting violence]: STELL-LAHHHHH!  (p 60)

My Top 10:

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire
  2. Detective Story
  3. A Place in the Sun
  4. The African Queen
  5. Strangers on a Train
  6. Oliver Twist
  7. La Ronde
  8. Death of a Salesman
  9. He Ran All the Way
  10. Alice in Wonderland

(more…)

Dubliners

  • The short story collection to top them all.

    The short story collection to top them all.

    Author:  James Joyce

  • Published:  1914
  • Publisher:  Grant Richards Ltd
  • Pages:  182
  • First Line:  “There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke.”
  • Last Line:  “His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
  • ML Edition:  #124  (seven different dust jackets); gold dust jacket
  • Film:  1987  (**** – dir. John Huston)
  • First Read:  early 1993

(more…)

Garcia Marquez isn't the only South American who can write a fantastic magical realism novel.

Garcia Marquez isn’t the only South American who can write a fantastic magical realism novel.

The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus)

  • Author:  Isabel Allende  (b. 1942)
  • Published:  1982  /  1985  (English tran.)
  • Publisher:  Plaza & Janés, S.A.
  • Pages:  433
  • First Line:  “Barrabás came to us by the sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy.”
  • Last Line:  “It begins like this: Barrabás came to us by the sea.”
  • Awards:  Panorama Literario
  • Film:  1994  (**)
  • First Read:  Fall 2000

The Novel:  When I first started at Powells, I was living in Beaverton and commuting into Portland on the Max.  That gave me a lot of time to read, and I was employed by the largest bookstore in the world.  So I made a list.  It was a mixture of a variety of books – some were books I had seen the film of, some were finishing off authors whose other books I had already read and some were award winners I felt the need to read.  I don’t remember all of the books on the list, but some of them come back to me vividly, as I remember reading them while on the Max, or walking through the streets of Northwest to the Max.  This is one of those books. (more…)

"I have known her six years and seen her twice in a decent dress. Once was at a funeral of a big producer for whom she had no respect and once when she had to receive a Critics award she didn't want." (The Wisdom of Eve)

“I have known her six years and seen her twice in a decent dress. Once was at a funeral of a big producer for whom she had no respect and once when she had to receive a Critics award she didn’t want.” (“The Wisdom of Eve”)

My Top 8:

  1. All About Eve
  2. Night and the City
  3. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  4. The Asphalt Jungle
  5. Harvey
  6. In a Lonely Place
  7. Cinderella
  8. Broken Arrow

Note:  Yes, only a Top 8.  There are 20 films in this year that I rate ***.5 or better and only seven of them are adapted (Broken Arrow is a high ***).  The Third Man is often thought of as adapted, but the script was actually written first. (more…)

One of the more poignant relationships in film history and it's nowhere in the original novel.

One of the more poignant relationships in film history and it’s nowhere in the original novel.

My Top 10:

  1. Bicycle Thieves
  2. The Heiress
  3. A Letter to Three Wives
  4. It Always Rains on Sunday
  5. All the King’s Men
  6. Whisky Galore
  7. Thieves’ Highway
  8. Champion
  9. The Window
  10. The Fallen Idol

note:  There are two more on my list: my #11, Yellow Sky, is covered below because it is a Consensus nominee, but my #12 and #13 were not nominated by any group and are listed down at the end of this post. (more…)

" 'Will I Come?' he said at once. 'There's no need to ask. Of course I'll come. You've only got to say gold and I'm your man.'" (p 71)

” ‘Will I come?’ he said at once. ‘There’s no need to ask. Of course I’ll come. You’ve only got to say gold and I’m your man.'” (p 71)

My Top 10:

  1. Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  2. Hamlet
  3. Force of Evil
  4. Fanny
  5. Day of Wrath
  6. Rope
  7. The Eagle Has Two Heads
  8. State of the Union
  9. Cesar
  10. The Snake Pit

Note:  I actually have a lot more than 10 on my list in this year.  There are 19 films on my complete list.  Four of the remaining films on my list are reviewed below because they were WGA nominated: my #11 (All My Sons), #14 (Key Largo), #15 (Call Northside 777) and #18 (Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House).  The rest are in list order at the very bottom. (more…)

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