… and another thing…

I wrote about TV and film adaptations yesterday. I probably wandered off on a tangent but I think my main point that was that I understand TV and film versions of books are going to be different from how readers imagine characters in their heads; often plot-lines or characters or back-stories have to be missed out, or episodes shortened to fit an alternative medium. I get that… I thought Alec Guinness was perfect casting for George Smiley in the BBC version of ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy…’ but that Gary Oldman was a terrible and disastrous choice in the more recent film. I mentioned yesterday that I thought having a blond actor playing the part of Jimmy Perez in the Shetland TV mysteries was a mistake, because his dark foreignness was crucial to the character in the books, setting him apart and different.

I also mentioned the latest Poirot TV story, The ABC Murders  with John Malkovitch as a very different Poirot. I can understand the new interpretation of the character, to make him less exotic, less prissy, less eccentric (although going back to the books, Poirot consciously uses these characteristics and exaggerates them to mislead people he’s investigating) I can appreciate for modern audiences to have a believable Poirot is a key part of a new adaptation. However, just as in the Gary Oldman film of Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy,  it seemed inexplicable and pointless to make one of the characters gay (which was a spoiler for another character who was revealed to be so) so it seems inexplicable and pointless to make the new Poirot an ex-priest (or trainee priest) rather than an ex-policeman.

Why didn’t the script writer invent a new character, an elderly ex-priest, who had come to Britain after the carnage of the Great War, and now specialises in serving God by solving crimes and revealing the identity of murderers. Why bolt on a completely different person with a complexly different personality onto a known character?

I’m mystified…

6 Comments

  1. Andrew Petcher

    I didn’t watch it, I just can’t see Malkovitch as Poirot.
    What about Bond, I didn’t mind them casting M as a woman but there is talk now that the next Bond will be a woman too. That would be a mistake. I apologise if that seems sexist, it isn’t meant to be.
    A film that I really like (both versions) is True Grit where the script is very faithful to the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lois

      I agree… Why don’t they have an exciting film about a woman spy – same genre as Bond but not aping an established character? It seems crazy – if they decided to have Joan of Arc played as Jim of Arc (I like the idea actually) or Florence Nightingale as Ferdinand Nightingale it would just seem ludicrous! I saw True grit many years ago but have never read the book… one to add to my reading list… oh, and Alan Ladd as Shane, just how I imagined him from Jack Schaefer’s novel… I read it as a child so had no idea that Alan Ladd was supposedly very small and had to stand on a box… Mind you, my family are all on the shorter side so it wouldn’t have registered anyway!!

      Like

      1. Andrew Petcher

        Shane is my favourite western movie. We once visited Haugesund in Norway and stayed in a film theme hotel. I was delighted to get the Shane Room.
        I would have needed the box also!
        True Grit is worth a read. My recommendation of the day is Albany Park by Patrice Chaplin.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lois

        Ooh, thanks, I’ll have a look at that too! Just grinding my way through Claire Tomalin’s biography of Dickens – wonderful research and detail but I’m not a great reader of biography. It was chosen as book of the month for the history book club so I must keep going!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lois

        Thanks for that as well… his name sounds so familiar and I’ve looked him up, and I remember Day of the Fox and Darkness Visible… but not what they were about, more on the list!

        Like

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