Author Topic: Last Movie You Watched  (Read 2186388 times)

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Online JBS

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29260 on: Today at 04:38:35 PM »
Crooked House
2017

Based on the book by Agatha Christie. It's hard to put a finger on just why, but this doesn’t really work. It’s reasonably faithful, and seems like it should have been better than it is, but isn’t. I suppose having Julian Sands in the cast never helps.

I think I can out the finger on "why" fairly easily.  Agatha Christie is "why". She is my least favorite author among the "Golden Age" mystery writers. Mrs. Marple and  Poirot are fully fleshed out over the years, but the stories and supporting cast seem mechanical and contrived, the resolutions of the mystery falling flat. The only Christie movie I liked was the Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express, but that's because it was filmed in high 1930s style, not because of the story itself.  I like the portrayals of Poirot by Ustinov and Suchet...but the character himself, not the overall story.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29261 on: Today at 04:52:22 PM »
I think I can out the finger on "why" fairly easily.  Agatha Christie is "why". She is my least favorite author among the "Golden Age" mystery writers. Mrs. Marple and  Poirot are fully fleshed out over the years, but the stories and supporting cast seem mechanical and contrived, the resolutions of the mystery falling flat. The only Christie movie I liked was the Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express, but that's because it was filmed in high 1930s style, not because of the story itself.  I like the portrayals of Poirot by Ustinov and Suchet...but the character himself, not the overall story.

I started reading the very earliest Christie novels. They're quite funny at times. The very first one has a joke about murder mysteries on the first page.

I gather that it's generally agreed she went downhill later on.
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Offline Ken B

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29262 on: Today at 05:06:55 PM »
I think I can out the finger on "why" fairly easily.  Agatha Christie is "why". She is my least favorite author among the "Golden Age" mystery writers. Mrs. Marple and  Poirot are fully fleshed out over the years, but the stories and supporting cast seem mechanical and contrived, the resolutions of the mystery falling flat. The only Christie movie I liked was the Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express, but that's because it was filmed in high 1930s style, not because of the story itself.  I like the portrayals of Poirot by Ustinov and Suchet...but the character himself, not the overall story.
Ah, but I rather liked the book.

The 1948 Ten Little Indians is superb. The later ones, not.

Please don’t tell me you're a Dorothy Sayers fan!

I started reading the very earliest Christie novels. They're quite funny at times. The very first one has a joke about murder mysteries on the first page.

I gather that it's generally agreed she went downhill later on.

She did, but she had a good run from the late 20s to the late 40s, with a lot of good books. There are a few good books from the 50s, but not a lot and none from the 60s at all.
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Online JBS

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29263 on: Today at 05:09:17 PM »
I started reading the very earliest Christie novels. They're quite funny at times. The very first one has a joke about murder mysteries on the first page.

I gather that it's generally agreed she went downhill later on.

There is also the fact that in some things she was the first to things that became commonplace later, so it's a situation like music, where we can't hear Beethoven's music the way his first audiences did.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd used a rather simple, but fundamental, narrative twist, and became an instant classic not because it was a great story, but because no one had thought of using that narrative twist before. [Not specifying what the narrative twist is so as not be a spoiler for those that haven't read it.]

Offline Ken B

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29264 on: Today at 05:15:06 PM »
There is also the fact that in some things she was the first to things that became commonplace later, so it's a situation like music, where we can't hear Beethoven's music the way his first audiences did.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd used a rather simple, but fundamental, narrative twist, and became an instant classic not because it was a great story, but because no one had thought of using that narrative twist before. [Not specifying what the narrative twist is so as not be a spoiler for those that haven't read it.]
Same with Crooked House, ironically.
If you want an intricate puzzle with an intricate solution you want John Dickson Carr or Ellery Queen, But they have their own shortcomings.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29265 on: Today at 05:15:42 PM »
There is also the fact that in some things she was the first to things that became commonplace later, so it's a situation like music, where we can't hear Beethoven's music the way his first audiences did.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd used a rather simple, but fundamental, narrative twist, and became an instant classic not because it was a great story, but because no one had thought of using that narrative twist before. [Not specifying what the narrative twist is so as not be a spoiler for those that haven't read it.]

I've read that one before so I know the twist, and it's a damn good one.

EDIT: Also something that I cannot imagine working on film.
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Offline Ken B

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29266 on: Today at 05:19:30 PM »
I've read that one before so I know the twist, and it's a damn good one.

EDIT: Also something that I cannot imagine working on film.

Before I forget. I recommend Gilbert Adair, The Act Of Roger Murgatroyd as an excellent send up of AC and the Golden Age Of Detection in general.
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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29267 on: Today at 05:32:53 PM »
Ah, but I rather liked the book.

The 1948 Ten Little Indians is superb. The later ones, not.

Please don’t tell me you're a Dorothy Sayers fan!

She did, but she had a good run from the late 20s to the late 40s, with a lot of good books. There are a few good books from the 50s, but not a lot and none from the 60s at all.

Heh, 10 Little Indians is for me the prime example of a contrived mechanical plot that falls flat.

Dorothy Sayers wrote some of the best detective novels in the English language. The characters are three dimensional, the plots realistic but  true puzzles, and with plenty of comic relief.  The Nine Tailors may be the greatest English mystery story...and it so good, it is not a spoiler to note that the presumed "murder victim" was not murdered. Gaudy Night is another one, in which the focus is on women's role in the workplace, and the complications of detective fiction as literature are put on display [Harriet Vane is a sort of self portrait, and she struggles in the novel with writing a story that pays appropriate attention to characterization that does not enslave characters to the plot.] There's a brilliant little scene, totally irrelevant to the main story, in which the British literary scene is parodied with sharp hilarity. (And Gaudy Night is really a novel about Oxford University. There's a crime, but no murder.)
Same with Crooked House, ironically.
If you want an intricate puzzle with an intricate solution you want John Dickson Carr or Ellery Queen, But they have their own shortcomings.
Come to think of it, I don't remember ever reading Crooked House. She wrote so many!

Have not read much by Carr, but liked all I have read.


EDIT: Also something that I cannot imagine working on film.
Agreed.

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29268 on: Today at 05:57:56 PM »
Heh, 10 Little Indians is for me the prime example of a contrived mechanical plot that falls flat.

Dorothy Sayers wrote some of the best detective novels in the English language. The characters are three dimensional, the plots realistic but  true puzzles, and with plenty of comic relief.  The Nine Tailors may be the greatest English mystery story...and it so good, it is not a spoiler to note that the presumed "murder victim" was not murdered. Gaudy Night is another one, in which the focus is on women's role in the workplace, and the complications of detective fiction as literature are put on display [Harriet Vane is a sort of self portrait, and she struggles in the novel with writing a story that pays appropriate attention to characterization that does not enslave characters to the plot.] There's a brilliant little scene, totally irrelevant to the main story, in which the British literary scene is parodied with sharp hilarity. (And Gaudy Night is really a novel about Oxford University. There's a crime, but no murder.)Come to think of it, I don't remember ever reading Crooked House. She wrote so many!

Have not read much by Carr, but liked all I have read.
Agreed.

Well, we should really find another thread for this. I might make one.
But the 9 Taylors is one of the dullest books I have ever read! And the gimmick is instantly obvious, which doesn’t help. I just find her snobbery unbearable, and her lower class characters (and speech) especially awful.
What one Sayers would you recommend to a skeptic? The only one I kind of liked was Advertise.

Carr also used the name Carter Dickson. Almost all his books from 1935 to 1946 are good, but to me the standouts are
The Judas Window
Til Death Do Us Part
The Problem of the Green Capsule (aka the BlackSpectacles)
The Hollow Man (aka the The Three Coffins)
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Online JBS

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Re: Last Movie You Watched
« Reply #29269 on: Today at 06:24:04 PM »
Well, we should really find another thread for this. I might make one.
But the 9 Taylors is one of the dullest books I have ever read! And the gimmick is instantly obvious, which doesn’t help. I just find her snobbery unbearable, and her lower class characters (and speech) especially awful.
What one Sayers would you recommend to a skeptic? The only one I kind of liked was Advertise.

Carr also used the name Carter Dickson. Almost all his books from 1935 to 1946 are good, but to me the standouts are
The Judas Window
Til Death Do Us Part
The Problem of the Green Capsule (aka the BlackSpectacles)
The Hollow Man (aka the The Three Coffins)

Sorry, if you thought Nine Tailors was dull, there's no hope for you nothing I can suggest.

Movie relevance: Hollywood made a movie based on the last Wimsey novel, Busman's Honeymoon. General consensus is that it is a lousy movie.