Will Bukowski ever be properly translated to film?

Discussion in 'Video, audio, film and other media' started by mjp, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Saw Factotum for the first time on Saturday night. Interesting how much of the same ground it covered as Barfly, but the acting was a thousand times better.

    Rourke and Dunaway look like hammy regional dinner theater actors compared to Dillon, Taylor and Tomei. They played much more convincing drunks, which made the whole thing more believable, and - for me anyway - harder to watch (real drunks are generally very, very boring to sit and look at).

    Maybe Barfly is so solidly wedged into Bukowski lore because it was first, and because he wrote the screenplay. But as a film, when you watch it objectively, there's really not much there. But that could be said for all the films based on his work, including Factotum.

    I'm not sure why that is. An interesting movie could be made using Bukowski's work. It just hasn't been done yet.

    Oh, and I barely noticed the smokey, haunting songs of Kristin Asbjornsen.
  2. I think Crazy Love is a pretty good adaption. Tales of Ordinary Madness stunk up my living room when I watched it. I can't get the smell out of my carpet, no matter what I try. kerosene and a zippo, I guess. (that means I thought it was bad.)
  3. You know, I still haven't watched Crazy Love, though it's been on my shelf for a couple years now. Everyone seems to like it though, so I guess I'll have to dust off the VCR and give it a spin.

    I couldn't figure out what Tales of Ordinary Madness was supposed to be. But whatever it was, it was bad.
  4. Too bad Verhoeven didn't shoot Women :D
  5. Bukowski from Beyond

    Factotum has come close, I think.

    There was a made for Broadway play,
    maybe it's been discussed in another thread,
    I wish I could have seen that.

    It featured a guy, sitting up on stage,
    as Bukowski, reading poetry, and
    carrying on with the audience, and grabbing
    bottles of beer from a refrigerator on stage.

    I really wish I could have seen it.

    Bukowski From Beyond

    And another Review
  6. Then there is always Bukowskical! (The Bukowski musical)

  7. Ah, who could forget Bukowskical...those were the days!
  8. Not since the Blues Brothers sang Stand by Your Man has there been that kind of excitement.

    No Siree.
  9. I agree with William Burroughs on this sort of thing. Certain things are for certain media. Why would anyone want to see a film adaptation of, say, Post Office when you can read the book ? It's just plain silly. Alternatively a true biopic of a writer's life would just be a Warhol-style three hour single take of said writer sat at his desk writing.

    Mind you, I thought Factotum was quite funny, Barfly awful and that one with Gazzara in it execrable. But if for some peculiar reason I feel the need to see Bukowski on screen I just put on that old french interview and have a right old laugh.
  10. I think that factotum is the closest we will ever come to having a satisfactory bukowski facsimile in the movies. Barfly obviously suffered from poor translation from page to film, and the lines Bukowski wrote didn't really light up the screen. Factotum did though.
  11. factotum is the better of adaptions by far, tales was crude and barfly was muddy~or was all that me
  12. I actually prefer Barfly to factotom.

    I thought Rourke and Dunnaway did a great job in the film.Factotum seemed rushed and Matt Dillon isn't a good actor.He didn't look the part and i just found myself very disappointed in the film since i had waited so long to view it.
    I know most people on here will disagree but thats my opinion.
  13. dillion did seem rushed
  14. Factotum I enjoyed it I would watch it again but there were so many great passages from the book that didn't make it to the movie it deff could have been longer
    Crazy Love I can't find it translated to english
  15. Bukfan

    Bukfan "The law is wrong; I am right" Men of Mayhem Unholy Ones

    You can get with English subtitles...
  16. Ponder

    Ponder "So fuck Doubleday Doran" Live to Ride ROAD CAPTAIN

    If you tell where, that would be handy ;)
  17. Would this work?

    Crazy Love
  18. Bukfan

    Bukfan "The law is wrong; I am right" Men of Mayhem Unholy Ones

  19. I agree with Ryan. I prefer Barfly to Factotum. Rourke, in my opinion, iw a better actor than Dillon.
  20. This is not a problem limited to Bukowski. Good writing does not always translate well to the screen. Take Fitgerald, for instance: five versions of The Great Gatsby have been produced (1926, 1949, 1974, 2000) and every one of them was lacking.

    Elia Kazan's adaptation of The Last Tycoon -- with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, no less -- suffered from an over-bloated all-star cast of Hollywood veterans and an actress in the lead role, Ingrid Boulting, who had been severely miscast.

    I've been told that the 1985 mini-series by 20th Century Fox of Tender is the Night is passable but with Peter Strauss as Dick Diver I'm not so sure I want to go near it.

    The screenplay adaptation for that '85 version of "Tender" was by Dennis Potter, whom we discussed over on The Singing Detective thread.
  21. Agreed. I have never seen it happen. Which is why I never see films based on books that I like.

    Well, that's not true either. I saw Factotum. But it seemed oddly disconnected from the book. Like it wasn't even trying to "be" the book...it was more inspired by the book.

    Either way, I shy away from films of good books.
  22. I thought that two of my favorite films did some fair justice to their respective literary counterparts: A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist. Of course, you may not care for Anthony Burgess, but I think his use of Nadsat is brilliant, and I think Kubrick did a very serviceable job of translating the desolate whimsy as juxtaposed with brutal surreality of Burgess' future into a classic.

    As for William Peter Blatty, we don't really have enough material to determine if he was a great writer, but the text of The Exorcist is full of some very intelligent and insightful writing. The movie suffers a bit from the "cheese factor" some 35 years later (it really is no way near as scary as it was portrayed, with theatres handing out barf bags and all...). But I think that the film has some very effective moments. I've watched both "Clockwork" and "Exorcist" hundreds of times, and read each book at least five times.
  23. Many film historians believe that The Godfather is an odd man out: a classic film made from a bad, pulp-laden novel. I would also say that Grapes of Wrath is an exception. Ford's movie is a terrific complement to Steinbeck's novel. But what Elia Kazan did to East of Eden is simply unforgiveable.

    Two more excellent exceptions: Exorcist and Clockwork Orange. Blatty's novel is an insightful meditation on faith. I met Jason Miller on the set of Blatty's awful Exorcist III and ended up writing a play about him, Go Irish: The Purgatory Diaries of Jason Miller, that was produced in Scanton last year. Miller was as haunting and haunted as the character he portrayed. And every inch the Jesuit.
  24. I liked Exorcist III. :eek:
  25. Holy crap! I posted this just 5 minutes before you posted what you just wrote:

    WTF??? We apparently agree, no?
  26. We were both typing at the same time, Stick. I was agreeing with you about the two films.

    ROC, Exorcist III has its moments but it was such a troubled production and Blatty had to literally extricate Miller from a PA drunk tank to get him to do the movie. The studio insisted that Father Karras had to be in the film (despite being killed in the original). The logic of the Morgan Creek producer who ordered the character insertion was the logic of a literalist: "Well, the title The Exorcist refers to Father Karras, so how can there be a sequel without him?"
  27. I don't think that the Clockwork Orange film was better than the novel. For me, the novel es higher that the kubrick's work.
    One thing that you have to know friends. As I say in my first post I'm from Perú (that's why my poor english). Well, I'll try to be short: as far as I know there are two versions of the Burgess' novel, the european (the original) and the northamerican (which has the last chapter supressed). This last and short chapter was the main character transformation, where he watches all his old friends converted in "normal" people, away from the violence and he decides to do the same. This short chapter is like the grow up time of the character and it has all the poetry needed to end up a novel. Well, this last chapter was omitted in the northamerican edition of the book because the editor didn't like this "tranformation" and Burgess (needing money in that time) accepted. The Kubrick's film was based in this edition and Burguess dind`t like that movie for that reason.
    I'd like to say a lot of things more about this, but my poor english doesn't allow me.
  28. Kubrick always messed with text in his adaptations. We had to wait for Adrian Lynne to get a definitive version of Lolita (although Kubrick's version certainly has its charms). The Shining is another example of a Kubrick film that strips the original source material bare.
  29. Bukfan

    Bukfan "The law is wrong; I am right" Men of Mayhem Unholy Ones

    The movie, "Papillon", was fairly close to the book. Of course, some scenes in the book had to be left out due to time limitations (same thing happend with "The Godfather" movie. When it came on TV as a four part series, some "new" scenes was added which were left out in the movie)...
  30. Well, that was clear, I was just marvelling at the similarities.

    Papillon is another great example, but the book is much better, IMO.

    Another might be "Johnny Got His Gun," but film-making in the US in the 50s/60s lacked a certain Communist bent. God Bless Dalton Trumbo.

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