Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Back to safer areas from the universe of role playing books...

I finished Dorothy Hughes's "Ride the Pink Horse" (1946) last night. It was relaxing to open up a bottle of French cider and sit down and read a book after everyone else had gone to sleep. I liked the book much more than I would've thought since I had to drop it last time I tried it. There was some overwriting and over-analyzing (especially in the end scenes in which the policeman MacIntyre starts to moralize - that could easily be left out), but the overall effect was very good and very nice in its grimness. The ending was quite nasty, even though Sailor manages to escape.

I liked this more than "In Lonely Place" which I read earlier last week. It was more over-written and with some empty scenes throughout the book. But maybe the emptiness was the whole point: there's nothing left in the world that has just gone through the World War.

I didn't like much Hughes's last novel, "The Expendable Man" (1963) which was her last and which I read in January or February. It started out promising enough when it seemed almost absurd and Kafkaesque, but then Hughes gives the point away and the book becomes a rather moralizing and predictable tale on racial prejudice.

There are two other books by Hughes in Finnish, but I trust Tapani when he says that they are not interesting. The other is her debut novel, "The So Blue Marble" and the other one, oh well, even I can't check all the things.

Interesting, though (or sad or embarrassing actually), is that the two novels I mentioned first were turned into famous films ("In Lonely Place" with Bogie being more famous than "Ride the Pink Horse" which was directed by Robert Montgomery who had just earlied trashed Chandler's "Lady in the Lake" with his camera-as-character narration) and I haven't seen either of them!

By the way, I think it's the script writer Steve Fisher who invented the idea of doing "Lady in the Lake" with camera as Marlowe. It just doesn't work and it's no wonder there aren't many feature-length films with the same idea. There are some nice moments, but it becomes irritating when you have to listen to Montgomery in voice-over all the time. Someone should be able think of the way of doing this without having to resort to voice-over. I don't know if it's possible. There are some nice films with voice-overs, but for example Kubrick's "The Killing" would be even better if there were no voice-over. The other example of camera-as-character narration is Delmer Daves's "Dark Passage" from a David Goodis novel, but it's only the first 20 minutes and hence won't get irritating.

No comments: