Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Best Laid Plans: Two Books and a Movie

It began on a summer afternoon in July, a month of intense heat, rainless skies and scorching, dust-laden winds.

His eyes fell on the headline and unconsciously it registered on his brain.

RACE TRACK BANDIT
MAKES CLEAN BREAK
WITH TWO MILLION.




Quite suddenly, a desire to read pulp fiction gripped me…hard. Since taking the metro to Hardayal library, which has a fairly good collection, was out of question, I decided to try the internet. Manybooks.net was the site I tried since they have a separate section for this genre. I was lucky enough to download a known and an unknown author. James Hadley Chase’s No Orchids for Miss Blandish turned out to be fairly gripping tale of kidnapping and murder. The book, the first one that Chase published, has seen many changes in various editions. Apparently, the one I read is a sanitized version. Chase is one of my favourite writers of pulp and this book confirmed the point once again.

The other one was Clean Break by Lionel White. Had never heard of White before but since this was a post 30s novel, thought that it’d be interesting. And interesting this novel concerning a robbery heist turned out to be. While going thru the Wikipedia entry on the novel learnt that a movie, viz, Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing is based on it. So, the next step was, of course, to watch the movie. It turned out to be absorbing especially its non-linear format and the last few minutes with their premonition of doom. The characters, however, were depicted more sympathetically in the movie than in the book which I thought took away some of the tension that is there in the book. The robbery in the movie fails to a large extent due to fate but in the book it is the underlying tension between the various characters (none of whom is likable) that gives it its edge.

So all in all I have discovered a new writer and a new director.

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The books can be downloaded from www.manybooks.net The movie too is available online. For those interested, here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0O1t28RjvA&feature=related