10/19/08 Reading

Photo taken with the Philips crapcam.

Double-size enlargement:

I do this photo (if it can be called that!) because it’ll be rare for you to come across this long out-of-print paperback by Neville Smith.

It’s his novelization of the screenplay he did for the delightful movie, Gumshoe (which I raved about in the old blog).

First, I must be self-indulgent and run this passage for an old friend:

I got up and made it to the door. He stopped me.

‘Wait. We don’t see you for a year. You must want something.’

I turned to look at him, ‘I got given something tonight and I’m just checking to see if anybody I know gave it to me.’

‘A present, was it?’ he sneered.

‘You could call it that.’

‘The day I give you a present, pigs will fly.’ That’s his idea of a snappy repartee.

‘Thanks for the flying pig.’ Us Ginleys should stay out of the repartee business. I walked out.

When I first saw this movie in the 1970s, it struck me, hard. It was so delightful! Full of scenes that you wished would happen in real life — and there they were, dramatized in the movie, bringing them to fake, yet real, life.

For ages, I wanted to see if there was a book. About two years ago, I came across the above paperback in a used bookstore. Finally, I’ve read it.

It’s just as delightful as the movie. Usually, books based on movies lose something, but this one — written by the screenwriter himself — is damned faithful to the movie and also fills out bits in the light-touch narrative about the Edward Ginley character not apparent on-screen (for example, he being an ex-Teddy boy).

It’s a double crime that this book is out of print and that the movie has been released on DVD —

only in the UK.

It’s U.S. release was limited to VHS —

— which is very hard to find these days.

What I learned just now is that the stunning blonde who was brilliant in a scene with Finney —

— was Wendy Richard, who went on to star in the classic Britcom, Are You Being Served?

The music score, by the way, was by Andrew Lloyd Webber! Ah, for a soundtrack CD! (There probably isn’t enough to fill a CD, so just sell the few tracks on the Internet already!)

This is what the cover of the UK paperback looked like:

Don’t tell me movie piracy is rampant on the Internet. Gumshoe has never been on the Net. I’ve looked. (For research purposes, you understand. I’m lucky enough to have scored it on VHS off ebay a few years ago.)

This is the kind of movie Criterion should be preserving on DVD. It’s a shame it hasn’t happened.

Here’s a review of the UK DVD. No word about extras, though.

Avert your eyes at this point, print-addicts. At some point I’ll have to razor-blade this rare paperback and turn it into an eBook copy for myself.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Fiction, Movie (theatre), TV, Uncategorized, Video - DVD, Writers - Dead, Writing

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