Question---(Silly really, but somewhat interesting!)

Snakfriends of Maugham

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Question---(Silly really, but somewhat interesting!)

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nov 10, 2010, 8:22 am

The following question comes from my own tendency to buy used books. When I joined the Maugham group and bought Merry-go-Round (online), I found tucked inside a piece of notepaper (blank) with the letterhead: Duke's Hotel, St. Jame's Place, London. My thought: Whose book was this? Did they read it in London, visit the scenes described in the novel, read it in St. James's Park? My question: What is the most unusual object you have ever discovered in a used book? (My own personal favorite is a few strands of hair tucked into Vol 1 of Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Milman ed. On close inspection the hair does not look human---rather it's dog or pony hair.)
I would be interested to hear what you have discovered. s4sando

Redigeret: nov 11, 2010, 3:05 pm

Since I buy most of my books used, I love to see evidence of previous ownership. In fact, the provenance of a book can add to its "value" to me (as when acquring a book owned by a known scientist). But in terms of finding little treasures tucked into a book, mine don't qualify as "silly" exactly:

(a) four leaf clover
(b) carefully pressed leaf of a European tree
(c) homemade bookmark
(d) dry cleaning receipt
(e) beetle carapace (maybe this was inadvertent)

nov 10, 2010, 12:22 pm

I rather prefer buying new books but since I am often interested in out-of-print titles, and the art of publishing seems to suffer a massive crisis these days, I often buy used books. The less used and the older, the better. The subject about finding some things in them is indeed interesting. Even when nothing is found, it is tantalising to fantasise when this book was, who read it, where, and so on; especially with old books it might become kind of obsession. But it is rather sad to buy an old book which looks quite new and suggests that no one has ever opened it, much less read it.

I have to say, however, that the most unusual thing I have ever found in a book was a neatly folded page from a pornographic magazine showing a lady, somewhat scantily dressed I must say, exploring the secrets of her body. Of course I laughed my head off. The funniest thing was that at the time - many years ago - I wasn't yet 18; one cannot but appreciate the irony of the situation. And the book was not something by D. H. Lawrence indeed, but one of the novels of Karl May, a very popular writer among the juvenile public. I used to read him quite a bit at the time but haven't done so since. How on earth could that lady find her way inside that book I have not even the faintest idea.

But what I usually find are pencil marks and bookplates; the former I rather dislike and always try to avoid, yet even they have a kind of romantic air that makes me wonder what kind of person was the one who made them. Once I found a restaurant bill, once a ticket from a concert (a female singer I have never heard of), things like that.

As regards to Maugham, by far the most amazing thing I have ever found is his signature. Now, I am not a collector and have no ambitions for first or signed editions, but this signature looked oddly thrilling, suggesting a kind of personal bond with the author (now that is silly). I bought the Jubilee Edition of Liza of Lambeth for the preface which turned out to be short and insignificant, but then I saw Maugham's signature and was rather surprised. As it turned out this edition, issued 50 years after the first one, was limited to 1000 copies signed by Maugham. My copy is No. 494 and the signature is rather neat considering the number. I am afraid the bookseller who sold me that book did a very bad deal: he could easily have sold it so somebody else for (at least) several times higher price.

Redigeret: nov 11, 2010, 2:23 pm

You may be interested in this thread in the Rare, Old or Offbeat group called "I Found a Petal." It is a whole thread of people reporting their in-book finds!

nov 11, 2010, 5:31 pm

Waldstein> You made a steal! Much better than an old beetle carapace!

The last thing I found in a used book was a piece of yellow notebook paper with a few rather dull notes on it. :( I can confiscate better notes at school any day.

nov 12, 2010, 4:03 am

I found a 25-ruble note in a book - too late to use it.
There is a good web-site dedicated to just this:

dec 7, 2010, 11:28 pm

I was reading Ex Libris by Ann Fadiman, and she found shavings of a 19th century quill pen in one of her books!

dec 11, 2010, 9:54 am

95% of my collection is also used so I am a great fan of what I call "inclusions". They come in several categories:

1. Objects: a pressed iris in a hundred year old copy of MYSTERIOUS ISLAND;
newspaper clipping announcing the death of Carson McCullers in a paperback of

2. Creative expression: some fair romantic poetry written on the inside covers of an old book of Swinburne's poems.

3. Books, the international language: student notes all over the margins of Faulkner's LIGHT IN AUGUST--all in Japanese!

dec 11, 2010, 12:25 pm

LOL! Where'd you get the Faulkner?

Redigeret: dec 11, 2010, 1:16 pm

#9 Not in Tokyo, Katie, though I wish! I actually bought it at a local L.A. hospital "fifty cents a book" charity sale. I'd give all my discoveries up for Waldstein's find, however. A limited edition signed by Maugham--wow!

dec 11, 2010, 4:37 pm

#10 I agree. Very jealous of Waldstein. Light in August was a choice in one of my high school English classes, so it certainly isn't the most challenging Faulkner, but for someone who is ESL, that must have taken courage!

dec 11, 2010, 4:48 pm

#11 Very true about LIGHT IN AUGUST--while it is one of my favorite books, it is also generally acknowledged as the most accessible among Faulkner's major works and the one I always recommend to the first-time reader of Faulkner. I heartily agree with you about Faulkner in general--reading anything by him can be daunting for a native English speaker--hard to imagine this Japanese student ploughing his way through!

dec 11, 2010, 8:37 pm

having read only Light In August, I'm interested to hear that it is much more accessible than the others. Speaking of which, I listened to an excellent unabridged audio recording of Faulkner's "Intruder in the Dust " and found that to be a GREAT way to appreciate the novel. In skimming it in print, I found it much harder to comprehend. Some things are better imparted orally than by print, it appears.

dec 11, 2010, 11:12 pm

danielx> "Some things are better imparted orally than by print, it appears." Yes, that's because the voice talent has to do the work of interpreting before reading! I've read The Sound and the Fury twice and wouldn't dare say I understood it, although I did enjoy it.

Redigeret: dec 12, 2010, 1:43 am

#13, 14 You both make good points. The dramatic effect of a good audio reading would certainly assist INTRUDER IN THE DUST where you have more of a conventional storyline than you usually get from Faulkner. Other more experimental works like SOUND AND THE FURY with all its stream-of-consciousness passages might be better understood on the page. In either case, Katie, I admire your approach: more than any modern writer I can think of--except maybe Joyce--Faulkner really requires a second, and even a third reading to be appreciated as much as possible.

Redigeret: dec 12, 2010, 12:13 pm

while we're on\off the subject, I recently ("finally") finished Conrad's Lord Jim, and found it a mixed experience at best. Indeed, as one who has read and loved much classic fiction (and who very much liked Conrad's The Secret Sharer), I'm embarassed by my reaction.

But I found it most difficult to get through... repetitious, long winded, and at times downright annoying. Finding I was getting little out of it (after it had dragged on for months), I was resolved to give it a chance to work its magic. And so, I (a) started it again, (b) read a Monarch Notes on the book at the same time, and (c) listened to the unabridged book on tape during travel time, all of which I found to help. I was resolved that if this book was a masterpiece of fiction, I would not let a lack of fortitude stand in the way of my understanding and appreciation.

Nevertheless: most likely it speaks to my inadequacy or impatience as a reader that I am less than appreciative of the book, and thought it would have been much better as a short story or novella. It offered the best argument I've seen for Maugham's advice to "skim". I'm reminded of WSM's own comment about Conrad, that he was a great short story writer but who would let such potential stories grow beyond all bounds. (And for the record: Lord Jim was criticized on the grounds that Cptn Marlow could not possibly have told the story he narrates during a single evening. Conrad responded at the time by asserting his tale could have been narrated in a mere three hours. On the contrary, the audio version, most of which is the Marlow narration, comes to 11 hours).

Such words may be wounding to other Conrad admirers here, in which case I apologize . I share them in hopes of finding where I've gone wrong. I can't say I've had this reaction to classic fiction before.

Redigeret: dec 12, 2010, 1:31 pm

Well, Dan, I am a Conrad admirer, but I can understand how you (or anyone) might not respond that well to Lord Jim. The beginning section (the part told in third person rather than narrated by Marlow (and don't forget to subtract that part from your 11-hours of listening when figuring how long it would really take Marlow to tell the tale, a factoid I find irrelevant, anyway--good gravy, had those people never heard of poetic license or willing suspension of disbelief?)) is slow, although crucial to an understanding of Jim. Some other parts of it are slow as well. But there are brilliant sections: the conversation between Marlow and Stein about the nature of failure and success (the part about catching the butterfly), for example, or pivotal scene on the freighter. To me, though, the key is the brilliance of the overall theme: when does adherence to a code, either personal or universal (i.e., the code of the British merchant marine), cross the line from admirable to self-indulgent and absurd?

Anyway, all this is just to explain my own reaction to the book (for which I had the benefit of a graduate level Conrad seminar complete with excellent professor and enthusiastic classmates for my first reading), not to try to affect yours.

As I said, I understand why readers might have a spot of trouble with Lord Jim. I recommend the novella Typhoon and the novels Nigger of the Narcissus and The Secret Agent. Heart of Darkness to me is the real masterpiece, but not everybody likes that one, either, much to my continued amazement. Oh, well. As my grandmother used to say, "That's why they make vanilla and chocolate."

dec 12, 2010, 2:06 pm

thanks for your comments, rocketjk. I am sure I would have benefitted from a graduate seminar dealing with the novel. I especially appreciated your comment when does adherence to a code, either personal or universal (i.e., the code of the British merchant marine), cross the line from admirable to self-indulgent and absurd?

I should have mentioned that I quite liked The Secret Agent (which I experienced as an audio book), and saw the merits of Heart of Darkness. I shall read Typhoon and N of N on your recommendation.

and your grandmother was a wise woman!

Redigeret: dec 12, 2010, 10:46 pm

danielx> No, your words aren't wounding. I'm taking it as a warning. I loved The Secret Sharer too, but for some reason never felt the need to read Lord Jim. I read Heart of Darkness which was fascinating like a train wreck. For some reason though, I had the impression that Lord Jim would be overblown, and probably racist. I wonder if I heard that somewhere? The long & short of it though is not all works can appeal to all people. Sometimes a work can be great, but the particular reader just doesn't connect with it. It isn't a value judgement; reader dumb or work bad. It just is. After all, we don't become best friends with everyone we meet.

Ah yes, this is just another variation of the vanilla and chocolate wisdom.

dec 15, 2010, 12:17 am

cammykitty and rocketjk, I had second thoughts after posting the above post; I guess I did it in hopes that someone could give me a better appreciation of the book. In fairness to the work, it is a book that asks attention and effort from the reader, and is probably not the sort of thing to read right before sleep.

I find that Lord Jim is staying with me, and my thoughts turn to it at odd moments, like an unresolved conundrum. Maybe I underestimated its powers!

dec 15, 2010, 1:25 am

#20 I also think you're right to stick to it, Dan. I read LORD JIM several decades ago so I've been somewhat reluctant to enter the discussion. My feeling back then, as I recall, was that it was a complex read that left a positive impression. Years later, however, I'm afraid it's the film with Peter O'Toole that I most clearly remember. This indicates a fundamental difference between Maugham and Conrad, whose stories of course often had similar settings and characters. Maugham got past the Victorian style of writing, of over-dressing plot and setting with too much prose, and, though my only other experience of Conrad has been his second novel, OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS, my impression is that Conrad did not. I remember the film of LORD JIM because the story is good; I've forgotten the novel because the plot was overdressed. Maugham had the unique ability to take a novel-size plot--like that of THE POOL or the LOTUS EATERS--and turn it into a satisfying short story. Conrad seems to have done the reverse--OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS was almost a typical tale by Maugham but inflated to novelistic proportions. Did I like it? Yes--but I was also frustrated by it, by two paragraphs where one would do, two scenes where only one was needed. Still, there is a gravity to Conrad that is undeniable, and no doubt his style has everything to do with that. What all of this comes down to I guess is the same conclusion you people have reached: there's a place for vanilla and a place for chocolate.

Redigeret: dec 15, 2010, 1:26 pm

#21> If you remember Lord Jim via the movie, I'm afraid you're not remembering the book very much at all. That movie version of Lord Jim is, in my view, absolutely the worst movie version of a classic book ever made, and the plot is, to put it mildly, mangled. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have good memories of that movie, of course. If you liked it, you liked it. But I remember discovering that there was a movie version of Lord Jim, with Peter O'Toole and James Mason no less, and being delighted! Then renting it and watching it with growing horror.

If the plot in Lord Jim seems overdressed, that might be because, really, Lord Jim (and quite a lot of Conrad) is not about plot but about character and human nature. It is also about narrative style, as Lord Jim is, with the exception of the opening chapter, a story being told by another character, Marlow, not by an omniscient third person narrator or even a direct first person storyteller. So we get Marlow's digressions and observations in addition to a straight delivery of the tale. We have to dive down into Jim's story through the sometimes shifting currents of Marlow's. That doesn't mean you have to like it, obviously, but I think within the context of your comments, it's relevant to point out some of the things that Conrad was up to with his prose.

Conrad absolutely grew as a writer and as a novelist. If your only other experience of his writing is An Outcast of the Islands, then certainly, if you've an interest, you might want to try some of the other novels of Conrad's peak period, including Heart of Darkness, Victory and The Secret Agent. Those are my favorites, along with some very rewarding shorter works like Typhoon and Youth.

dec 15, 2010, 3:17 pm

#22 Thanks, Jerry. Though we may differ over the merits of the movie, I do concede my inexperience with Conrad, overall. I'm sorry if placing him in context with Maugham seemed critical of Conrad--there is a place for both writers certainly and both have their merits. Maugham no doubt took even longer to develop his skills than Conrad (witness our MERRY-GO-ROUND thread and the tough criticism we gave that early work) so it would be unfair, as you point out, to judge Conrad's maturity from OUTCAST, only his second work. I was trying not to make that judgement, but probably wasn't clear. Thanks for your recommendations--I have most of them in my library and they will certainly go on my TBR list.

Redigeret: dec 15, 2010, 8:56 pm

#23> To be clear, the only thing I'm saying about that movie is that it mangles the plot of the novel horribly. For all I know, had I viewed the movie without a pre-knowledge of the book, judging it only on its own merits I might have liked it, too. It's just not the story of the novel. The second half in particular bears, as I remember it, almost no similarity to the events of the book.

This year (2010), my first read of the year was a re-read of Heart of Darkness. I think I'll make a Conrad re-read for a first-of-the-year read an annual tradition, since he is, in fact, my single favorite author, and start 2011 with a re-read of Lord Jim, as it's been somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years since I read it last.*

* That's not the longest sentence I wrote this year, but it's probably in the top 20.

dec 15, 2010, 9:22 pm

danielx> If you're still thinking about Lord Jim, it has certainly succeeded on some level. The goal of art is to make you think, not to be pretty or spare or to follow a certain fashion. Others here have read more Conrad than I have, but I'm thinking perhaps it is a novel that requires more than one reading to really appreciate it. Just a thought.

rocketjk> Can we truly award a #1 plot mangling award to any one movie??? I remember seeing Cousin Bette, the movie, and reading the book Cousin Bette afterwards. The woman who dies in the first scene of the movie never dies in the book. Wuthering Heights? I couldn't even watch the movie, but the ten minutes I saw, that wasn't *really* Kathy and Heathcliff.

Perhaps, after we have a few more Maugham group reads under our belt, we could tackle some group reads of his peers. Just a thought.

Redigeret: dec 16, 2010, 6:46 am

cammykitty and rocketjk,
I can't resist: The worst plot mangling done in movie form for me was the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter. Memorable scene: Hester Prynne in her hot tub!

Redigeret: dec 15, 2010, 10:49 pm

#26 s4sando, you definitely have named one of the top contenders in grotesque adaptations--the Demi Moore SCARLET LETTER was universally condemned and may have conrtributed to her subsequent absence from the screen. Maugham has suffered awfully as well: the Bill Murray starring RAZOR'S EDGE and the 1946 OF HUMAN BONDAGE with Austrian actor Paul Henreid were each total travesties of tone and miscasting.

#24 I do have to say, Jerry, that I find your strenuous objection to the cinematic LORD JIM rather puzzling--certainly small elements in the story were changed, but the major plotpoints and character conflicts remained the same IMHO. I think it faired much better than literature usually does going through the Hollywood meat-grinder. You bring up an interesting point also about the merits of a film vis-a-vis its source: it is possible, though less likely, for good films to be made that totally betray their origins. Some examples are GUNGA DIN, the great Cary Grant adventure film which had almost nothing to do with the Kipling poem and the Paul Newman starring LONG HOT SUMMER--and here we're talking about my own favorite author, so things are sensitive--a "distillation" of William Faulkner's THE HAMLET which might have had the taste of Faulkner, but only homeopathically; still, both were entertaining films. BTW may I suggest that with your love of Conrad you start a Conrad group similar to our Maugham group? I for one would love to participate in Conrad group reads annotated with your comments, and from what I've heard here, I sense Cammy, s4sando, danielx and many others share my interest. It would help me as I consider my lack of experience with Conrad a definite hole in my education.

dec 15, 2010, 11:47 pm

I happened to stumble across the Time magazine review of the movie of LORD JIM, which was critical. I've not seen the movie, but liked this paragraph in the review:

The burden falls to O'Toole, whose best lines are in his clean-cut profile and whose mannerisms parody his flashy style in Lawrence of Arabia and Becket. Each time his manhood is tested, O'Toole's eyes fill with tears and a hand drifts to his throat as if to ward off a fainting spell. Everything he does looks intensely talented. But it hardly ever looks like Lord Jim.,9171,839343,00.html

dec 16, 2010, 12:03 am

speaking of bad movie versions of books, I was displeased with Last of the Mohicans, which changed the plot and added a love interest not in the original.

Redigeret: dec 16, 2010, 12:36 am

#29 Dan, as I recall, the first sound film of LAST OF THE MOHICANS was fairly good, made in 1936 with Randolph Scott--I can't comment on its fidelity to the book, however, since I've never read it. Thanks for the Time magazine review quote. Yes, LORD JIM got its share of pans but, oddly, that seemed true of O'Toole pictures generally in the beginning. I remember he carried a newspaper clipping of a LAWRENCE OF ARABIA review from talk show to talk show in which this later-to-be-acclaimed film was absolutely savaged. I think many critics felt he was too beautiful to be real--certainly too beautiful to be anything like the short, homely actual T. E. Lawrence. There again is a case of a great film having little to do with the book: not only did O'Toole bear no resemblence to Lawrence, but you'd think they were describing another war altogether if you'd read SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM, Lawrence's own, more humble account of his exploits. Still, O'Toole was definitely Lawrence as many imaginations wished him to be, and in Hollywood, for better or worse (usually for worse), that's what counts.

dec 16, 2010, 12:08 pm

Well, as to the movie version of Lord Jim, perhaps time has clouded my memory. But I saw that movie in the midst of an intense Conrad period for me: a graduate school level seminar followed by choosing Conrad as one of the three major authors for my Masters Degree oral exams and having to therefore do some very intensive close reading of the major works, plus taking in a lot of Conrad criticism and a lengthy biography of Conrad as well. As I said, I realized with delight that there was an O'Toole/Mason movie of the book, but I distinctly remember spending the entire second half of the film saying, "What? What? What?"

I would say there must be some reason that the film has disappeared into the mists. We're talking about a Peter O'Toole/James Mason movie that is never shown on TV here in the U.S., not on any of the many classic movie channels or anywhere else. Few people even know of its existence. I think it has been dismissed as a not very good rendering of Lord Jim.

However, I will withdraw my claim that it's the worst ever film adaptation of a classic and just say it the is the one that disappointed me the most.

But here is the opening to the NY Times review of the movie:

If you are looking for Joseph Conrad's murky story of a man's involved attempt to redeem his blemished honor, as told in the novel "Lord Jim," look not to the film based upon it that came to Loew's State last night. And look not for Jim, the poignant hero, in the dank performance of Peter O'Toole.

What's more—and what's paramount to the interest of the average moviegoer, I am sure—look not for a powerful experience from this big, gaudy, clanging color film. For something bewildering has happened in Richard Brooks's making of it, and it misses at being either Conrad or sheer entertainment cinema.

The full review, which both refreshes and compliments my own memories of the movie, is here:

This proves nothing, of course. I've read many a scathing review of movies I've admired. I'm just saying, I agree with this guy.

dec 16, 2010, 12:10 pm

By the way, I also discovered a NY Times review of a 1925 film version of Lord Jim:

I wonder if this is available anywhere? If we're to believe this reviewer, this earlier version was much more successful.

dec 16, 2010, 1:07 pm

#32 Actually, the O'Toole LORD JIM shows up fairly frequently on TCM and has done no more than meet the fate of many films of its time. If nothing else, I have been inspired by this whole discussion to get it from Netflix for a second viewing. It is certainly no classic; I just don't recall it as being a dog. I'd be interested, Jerry, if you make any progress in finding that silent version--I hadn't heard of it either, and am curious.

Redigeret: dec 16, 2010, 1:24 pm

"Actually, the O'Toole LORD JIM shows up fairly frequently on TCM and has done no more than meet the fate of many films of its time."

OK, I'll stand corrected on that score. Maybe I'll keep an eye out for it and see if I can watch it a second time. Don't know if you've read through the review I posted from the Times, but the reviewer there does make note of several plot changes, including, as I noted, almost the entire second half.

dec 16, 2010, 3:34 pm

here's the Last of the Mohicans movie I was thinking of -- it came out in 1992

and for anyone amused by anachronisms and mistakes, see here

These are certainly not mistakes I'd ever notice. Having read the book 3x, I was bothered by the departure from what Cooper wrote...

Redigeret: dec 16, 2010, 7:43 pm

#34 Because of time constraints I didn't have time to read the N. Y. Times review this a.m., but I finished it just now. Believe me, Jerry, our perceptions are so different over this issue, you may think I'm trying to be difficult--but I'm not, honest. True, the review was not positive--where we differ, however, is in your assertion that the reviewer found all these second-half plot changes that were to blame. To my mind, what the guy was saying was that the film switched genres mid-stream--beginning as the interior drama Conrad intended, all of a sudden when the plot shifted to Patusan, Conrad was left behind and the film became a big loud action adventure. In all the noise, the reviewer goes on to complain, key figures and scenes from the book are simply not explained--he doesn't complain about changes to the book's plot, just that the film fails to explain what's going on. In either case, we can argue about this from today till tomorrow, and I will not be able to see the film through your eyes for one simple reason: you obviously love this book and you love Conrad. I cannot--I like and respect Conrad and the works of his I've read, but I have just never made the connection with him that you have. It is for that reason I can watch and be entertained by an action adventure made more interesting because of its connection to LORD JIM. You can't--you need to see Conrad in all his psychological glory respected on that big screen. And I respect and understand that totally. There are books I revere and admire, the films of which I cannot watch ten minutes of without barfing. One of them I mentioned, the atrocious RAZOR'S EDGE with Bill Murray. Another is the 1959 SOUND AND THE FURY, yes, some Hollywood idiot thought he was up to filming this masterpiece with no less than Yul Brynner (with hair!) as a southerner and Joanne Woodward as a character who was male in the book. You may wind up liking these films, I don't know, but if you did, I'd probably have the same difficulty changing your mind that you're having changing mine. My point is that the problem isn't in our minds--where all such arguments are situated--I think in this case the problem is in our hearts and the different books we give our hearts to.

At any rate, like I said, my appetite has been whetted to see the film, and you know you'll get my full report. In the meantime, check out Silent Sundays on TCM at 9:00 p.m. (p.s.t.) when they screen silent features--I checked and they have the 1925 LORD JIM in their archives; hopefully they'll screen it sometime.

dec 16, 2010, 7:48 pm

#35 Dan whatever possessed you to read LAST OF THE MOHICANS 3 times? Was it on a dare? Or do you just really love Cooper, despite Mark Twain?

Redigeret: dec 16, 2010, 9:04 pm

#36> sholofsky, I enjoyed reading your reflections, here. All I can do is quote from the review, while remarking that perhaps our issue is a semantic one, in terms of our use of the word, "plot":

"Jim's introduction into the jungle is achieved in a curious episode that has his confused imagination making kegs of gunpowder out of kegs of beer. And this episode (which is really the fade-out for Conrad in the film) leads on to a splurge of wild adventures involving bad Malays, good Malays and guns."

Emphasis added by me, of course. The "fade out for Conrad," to me, means that the movie stops being Conrad's book, in terms of the characterizations and the plot. And I thought the implication was clear that the "wild adventures" portrayed in the movie are not in the book--part and parcel of that "fade-out for Conrad."

"Conrad's inferior Sherif Ali, on whom Jim leads a knockout assault, turns into a slave-driving tyrant who is known as The General here."

From this we see that a key character has been changed and enlarged out of proportion to the book's intent. To me a character change like this is tantamount to a plot change.

"But long before this dramatic climax is reached, the psychology of Jim has been lost, atomized and forgotten in the surrounding confusion and din. His trouble with his imagination is barely hinted at now and again with close-ups of his face showing anguish and heavy applications of walnut stain. So thorough is the slivering and misplacement of the psychological theme that the point of Jim's romantic nature is completely lost in the long key scene with Brown."

Since "the psychology of Jim" is essentially what the novel, Lord Jim, is about at its heart, any movie that atomizes and forgets this psychology is mangling the book it has set out to portray.

Really, my comments here can all be traced back to my very first statement regarding the movie, in Post 22: "If you remember Lord Jim via the movie, I'm afraid you're not remembering the book very much at all." I stand by that, for the book is exploration of human nature, an exploration that is, according to our reviewer, wholly abandoned in the second half of the movie. You might as well let Captain Ahab calm down and fall in love in the second half of the movie version of Moby Dick and throw in a pirate attack while you're at it! :)

You've said, "It is for that reason I can watch and be entertained by an action adventure made more interesting because of its connection to LORD JIM." Well, sure! There's no reason you shouldn't be able to do that. You're of course absolutely correct that my reaction to the movies shortcomings are strongly informed by my love of the book.

Our reviewer felt differently about the action elements than you:

"Lost, too, in the course of all the fighting and the rushing hither and yon are the guidelines of the conflict and the urgency of what is going on. While the scenery and the crowds are impressive—Cambodian villages, rivers, atmosphere, youths flying kites, formal processions and a few scenes of Ankor Wat—the characteristics of all the people seem to merge in one big sweating mob. It's hard to tell who Jim is fighting or even who the good guys are.

Thus the pull of a sheer adventure drama, which is what this eventually becomes, is rendered sporadic and feeble by the indistinctness of the plot."

But so what? He didn't like the action elements and you did, and you're actually better off, since you had a happy movie-watching experience and he didn't. All I'm saying is that my memory of the film is closer to his reflections than to yours. But perhaps he and I are being overly harsh. C'est la vie!

Like you, I'm now anxious to give the movie a second viewing.

dec 16, 2010, 9:47 pm

>37 sholofsky: sholofsky, I read Last of the Mohicans 2x as a teenager (starting at age 14), and once since. After hitting my 20s, I seldom went back to a work of fiction, since once I could afford books, there were too many new things to read. Exceptions include Of Human Bondage, The Painted Veil, Madame Bovary, and some works by Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, and Sinclair Lewis.

I am not saying I'd recommend L of the M more than once. But I have enjoyed other JF Cooper works, Mark Twain's understandable comments notwithstanding.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 12:49 pm

Jerry, thanks for taking the time for such a fulsome reply. I can only agree with you: of course your memory of the film more closely coincides with that of the reviewer--neither of you liked it! My search was to try to find major plot changes alluded to in his review and your comments. Perhaps in this small area we are talking semantics--because in Hollywood terms, merely changing a character's name or raising or diminishing his/her importance is not a major plot change--it's par for the course. Nor do I consider a failure to be coherent or to adequately portray a character's turmoil to be alterations in plot--they are simply failures in movie-making. Plot to my mind involves action--it is the sum of the events that move a story from episode to episode; for Hollywood, LORD JIM IMHO hits those plot points with an impressive degree of fidelity to its original source. Where it fails at being a great film--and where a brilliant director like Orson Welles would have made all the difference--is in not keeping Conrad in the second half of the film, in charting the development of a revolution rather than the development of character, in shifting its focus to the lower rungs of human nature rather than the highest.

I must say, however, that you are remarkably prescient in your description of true plot changes vis-a-vis MOBY DICK. You are also a hundred percent correct--those are plot changes, and with the possible exception of the pirates, all of them happened. Woe to any lover of MOBY DICK who happened to be watching TCM the night they screened the 1930 version so-called MOBY DICK starring John Barrymore. This is a film, first of all, that rarely leaves the local village where a certain Captain Ahab Ceely is the local dandy, with women hanging from his arms, nose, legs, and any other permissable 1930 appendage. He reserves his affections for the lovely Faith, however, whom his brother also loves. When, finally, they head out on a whaling expedition and they confront old Moby, brother Derek pushes Ahab overboard and Moby takes Ahab's leg. Seeing him crippled, Faith now rejects Ahab--instead of blaming his brother, though, Ahab blames Moby Dick and the fierce hatred is born that finally, briefly, puts this film within hailing distance of a novel called MOBY DICK. Regrettably, this resemblance doesn't last long. Ahab goes out again after Moby, kills him, becomes the local hero, regains the love of Faith, and lives happily ever after. And the crew of the PEQUOT? Everyone survives except some guy named Ishmael. Those, my friend, are plot changes.

This is somewhat of an after-thought, Jerry, but I think our differing perceptions may also lie in how we look at movies. In addition to being a book-lover, I've also always been a movie buff. After seeing so much crap like the above coming out of Hollywood, I suppose--like some of our more frustrated high school instructors--I've come to grade films more on the curve. Compared, therefore, to the criminal butchery suffered by Melville in 1930, how can one help but give LORD JIM more than a passing grade, a film that actually bucks the Hollywood trend and has Jim die as he does in the book, willingly from the village elder's bullet, rather than having him run off with the native girl and live happily ever after in a grass hut? You'll probably call that my weakest argument yet--and you may be right, but it also may be at the crux of the problem.

dec 17, 2010, 12:09 am

s4sando> LOL!!! A puritan hot tub!!! Was James Brown in the movie too?

dec 17, 2010, 10:45 am

You've got to rent this movie! Another memorable scene: Hester hides in the bushes and watches the "skinny-dipping" Rev. Dimmesdale!

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 1:03 pm

#41 I totally agree with s4, Katie: the Demi Moore SCARLET LETTER is one of the great unintentional comedies of the 1990s. Serious actors like Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall seem to struggle to keep from laughing, while clueless Demi thinks she's finally working on Academy Award consideration. James Brown would have fit right in.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 3:15 pm

Well we can chew over this bone between us forever, of course, but I'm enjoying the exchange (hope you are, too), so asking the forgiveness of everyone for this thread hijack . . .

As to your comment . . .

"My search was to try to find major plot changes alluded to in his review and your comments. Perhaps in this small area we are talking semantics--because in Hollywood terms, merely changing a character's name or raising or diminishing his/her importance is not a major plot change--it's par for the course. Nor do I consider a failure to be coherent or to adequately portray a character's turmoil to be alterations in plot--they are simply failures in movie-making. Plot to my mind involves action--it is the sum of the events that move a story from episode to episode;"

You don't feel that plot includes why these actions occur? Why the characters do what they do? My own view on this question falls more in line with these oft-quoted words of E.M. Forster:

"The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then queen died of grief is a plot."

At any rate, as I've said, when the reviewer comments, "And this episode (which is really the fade-out for Conrad in the film) leads on to a splurge of wild adventures involving bad Malays, good Malays and guns," I believe his clear implication is that the "splurge of wild adventures . . . " are incidents that do not occur in the book, or at least are so distorted as to be unrecognizable.

Certainly, we're agreed that such changes in plot, story, character and form are par for the course in Hollywood renderings of novels, classic or otherwise. Sometimes I find these changes objectionable, and sometimes I don't, depending upon how skillfully they're done.

But we're also agreed, if I understand your comment I've quoted above correctly, that the movie version of Lord Jim is rife with "failures in movie making." (Apologies, sincerely, if I've misunderstood your point in making that comment. I do hate having my words misquoted back to me and don't like to perpetrate such on others.)

One may still, of course, heartily enjoy such a movie, if it contains enough pleasing elements to overcome such failures. I, too, am a movie buff, by the way. But for me a movie must have not just a plot, but a plot with intelligence. In the movie version of Lord Jim, according to our reviewer (and my own memory), such intelligence is swapped out for explosions, lots of shouting and protracted battle scenes.

For me, the joys of movie watching come at least as much from the portrayal and exploration of character as from the "what happens next?" aspect. I still love well-done action movies, whodunnits, and other plot-driven storylines. But when action is emphasized in place of interesting character development, in a story I originally loved for its character portrayals, I will be disappointed, especially once the action becomes incoherent or suffers from, as our reviewer put it, "indistinctness of plot."

In my view, to use our current example, if you take a relatively minor character in a book, elevate his importance more than a little and make him, newly, a slave trader, you are deviating rather significantly from the book in question. Whether that represents a "plot change" I guess is open to the semantic debate we're so enjoyably having here. But to me it represents the sort of deviation that informed my original comment, which I take the liberty of reproducing here once more: "If you remember Lord Jim via the movie, I'm afraid you're not remembering the book very much at all."

It is of interest, at least to me, that I find the movie, "Apocalypse Now," despite a change from the Belgian Congo of King Leopold's time to the Viet Nam war of the 1960s, to be much more faithful to the essence of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" than the movie version of Lord Jim is to Conrad's "Lord Jim."

For me, the fact that the final action of the book and the movie versions of Lord Jim are the same doesn't make up for all the blurring of character and plot along the way, given that I found those revisions to be poorly done. I know you feel differently on that score, and that's fine, of course!

I would speculate thusly: If you were a college student taking a literature course, assigned to read and then write a paper of, say, 2,000 words on Lord Jim, but decided to watch the movie instead of reading the book and write your report on that, you would be very hard pressed indeed to get a passing grade on that paper. The book and the movie are too different.

I have already noted my intention to make a re-read of Lord Jim my first reading priority for 2011. If you wish to join me in this, and then agree to both watch the movie, and then have this conversation again, I think that would be fun.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 4:35 pm

#44 Thanks, Jerry, for your message. I, too, have enjoyed our discourse. It is always stimulating to cross swords (in a friendly manner, of course!) with a person of your intelligence and committment to the arts. In response to your question regarding Forster's quote, I would say he was on the money in his analysis of plot in literature. I see plot in cinematic terms as being a whole different ballgame, however: the language of literature is thought--the language of cinema is action. An author can spend five pages--or sometimes an entire book--on the thoughts and impressions of a character who never gets out of bed. A film-maker can't do it for five minutes without risking the loss of his audience. For this reason the great directors--Ford, Kurosawa, Bergman--have always been the ones who can suggest inner turmoil through such visual agencies as set design, location, editing, camera angles, etc. The simple luxury of words is not at their command. Yes, in both mediums, plot motivates characters. In both the book and the film Jim is clearly motivated by his act of cowardice. The film doesn't change the act or the motivation. The film-makers may have failed in presenting the depths of Jim's turmoil, but again, I don't see this as plot manipulation, just mediocre movie-making.

As a parting word (not a shot, just a word) I would suggest that perhaps the lack of coherence and/or explanation in the second half of LORD JIM was less bothersome to me than it was to the reviewer because I had read the book and could fill in whatever blanks the film-makers were negligent in covering themselves. It is for this reason that, whenever possible, I try to read the book that a film is based on first, to more fully decipher what is often on the screen only in shorthand. In fact, this is the reason I wound up reading OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS a few years back--I happened to have the English version of the film on tape with the great Trevor Howard and wanted the background the book would give. Well, Howard was good, as usual, but I felt the film totally failed in presenting the book's atmosphere (be interested in your opinion if you've seen it). Thanks for your views on APOCALYPSE NOW; I was going to mention it in our discussion but refrained from doing so because of my unfamilarity with HEART OF DARKNESS; I concede your point, though, about the Coppola film plumbing the psychological depths in a manner LORD JIM failed to.

I think your idea of a re-read of LORD JIM and then a re-view of the film is an excellent one. As I noted earlier, I sensed some interest in the CAKES AND ALE group in such a Conrad project. With your knowledge and love of Conrad, you would, like Waldstein, make an excellent moderator. I will refrain from ordering the film till that time. By the first or second week of January I will have finished CAKES AND ALE and can start.

dec 17, 2010, 3:59 pm

Hester spying? Dimmesdale naked in daylight??? I'll have to rent this movie.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 4:24 pm


"As a parting word (not a shot, just a word) I would suggest that perhaps the lack of coherence and/or explanation in the second half of LORD JIM was less bothersome to me than it was to the reviewer because I had read the book and could fill in whatever blanks the film-makers were negligent in covering themselves."

It's funny you would say that. I thought the reviewer was indeed familiar with the book (as his comment about the keg episode being the "fade-out for Conrad in the film," among others, attests). If anything, I thought maybe his (and my) insistence on comparing the movie to the book was his flaw as a reviewer, in that he (and I) came to the movie too insistent on its antecedents rather than letting it stand on its own as a movie.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my re-read of Jim, and will wait until you're ready to watch the movie so that we may both approach our conversation having seen the movie freshly.

As to moderating a group discussion, that's a flattering notion, and thanks, but as you may have read in some other threads here on LT, I am soon to be taking over the ownership and management of a used bookstore. That will taking up way too much of my time to allow for any constructive discussion moderation, I'm afraid. I'll have to contain my Jim commentary to whatever you and I manage (plus whoever wants to join in on that, of course), rather than committing to anything more formal.

dec 17, 2010, 4:48 pm

#47 Jerry, that's great! I wish you all the luck in the world! Since I can remember, used book stores have been my substitute for church, and owning one my dream. You are living out my fantasy. BTW I think our messages leapfrogged one another--I edited mine to respond to your quote by Forster.

dec 17, 2010, 5:03 pm

Lord Jim has left a residue in my mind: I've read it twice decades ago and I love the indistinct sense-palette that comes to mind when I think of it. The whole book has jelled into an appreciated essence. Best ever for longevity of impressions, "The Aspern Papers." beautiful atmosphere to re-enter when I remember the book; I even hear the footfalls on stone in the Venice palace.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 6:28 pm

#48> sholofsky, in terms of your response to the Forster quote, I believe you're drawing a false distinction. Although narrative techniques certainly differ between the written word and the cinema, action, whether in the one or in the other, is essentially meaningless without coherent, believable motivation, in my view.

In other words, if a movie just shows me the king dying and then the queen dying, but doesn't make clear that the queen has died of grief, then the problems remain the same, regardless of the techniques, similar or divergent, that a writer and a movie maker use to convey those elements. The crucial point remains unchanged.

Yes, both movie and book include Jim's crisis of courage as a motivating factor. But, in the case of the movie, so what, if that motivation ceases to retain its relevance to the action? Your memory and mine of how much (or whether) the second half of the Lord Jim movie butchers the plot of the novel clearly differ. But my the real point is that one does not need rigorous "plot manipulation" to significantly alter a story.

The movie, Das Boot, is a good case in point. This is a great WW2 combat movie that takes place on a German submarine. The movie is German, so the first time I saw it, in a theater, there was German language with English subtitles. One of the most important elements of the movie was how calm and business-like all the sailors remained, even under the most unendurable stress. Because this was so well done, the single incident where a sailor loses his nerve becomes shocking and important. But then I saw the movie on TV it had been dubbed into English, and done very poorly, in that much of the dialogue was rendered in an emotional, almost hysterical manner. Without a single change in plot or even dialogue, the entire movie was altered for the worse, because that sub now had an entirely different crew! No "plot manipulation" whatsoever, but a radically different story being told.

The point is that a viewer remembering the movie with its original voice track would have a strongly different memory of the story than one who has only seen the dubbed version. Just as, as I've said, someone remembering Lord Jim via the movie version is not really remembering the novel very much at all.

I can sympathize with your calling the movie version of Lord Jim "mediocre movie making." I go further in my displeasure, but no matter.

I'd also say that there are plenty of movies where the filmmaker does have "the luxury of words at (his/her) command." Those are the movies that revolve upon the brilliance, cleverness or humor of dialogue. Jim Jarmusch, for example, is a favorite director of mine whose movies revolve around character and dialogue rather than plot, with Down by Law being my favorite.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 7:36 pm

#50 " real point is that one does not need rigorous 'plot manipulation' to significantly alter a story." Re DAS BOOT: "No 'plot manipulation' whatsoever, but a radically different story being told." Jerry, I could have uttered those two statements myself. I think we've finally come to a meeting of the minds. My point about LORD JIM has been this all along, that there may be problems in stress and tone, but that the basic plot machinery of the book has not been altered. And no question that's enough to destroy a film. The film I've mentioned as most objectionable to me--the last remake of RAZOR'S EDGE--did not, as I recall, change the basics of the book's plot at all--they even took the trouble to keep it in period; what completely destroyed the film was Bill Murray--in bringing his smirky, insincere slacker routine to a role that is all about integrity and committment, the entire story was altered and the proceedings mocked. And I'm not saying this because I have a problem with Bill Murray--to the contrary, I thought GHOSTBUSTERS was unquestionably the best comedy of the eighties and GROUNDHOG DAY probably one of the best comedies of all time. The fault lay with the idiot who thought RAZOR'S EDGE was a comedy. As for the Forster comment, my reaction to it might have been too abstract for me to adequately describe, but basically I was saying that the description of feeling is more the part of the plot of a novel because novels deal in such abstractions; the visual or outward manifestations of feeling, seen through word or deed, are more exclusively the part of the plot of a film. True, there are highly literate films like MY DINNER WITH ANDRE where nothing transpires but dinner, but even here, speech is action, and we're not permitted the entrance into the minds of these characters that a book gives us, and that, I'm sure you'll agree, is one of the great blessings of literature.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 7:43 pm

When you view the movie The Scarlet Letter staring Demi Moore, just keep in mind, it's not on the same planet as Hawthorne.

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 7:49 pm

hello Niaih, perhaps you'd like to join our group as a member. And certainly, to join the reading of Lord Jim when that begins

Redigeret: dec 17, 2010, 9:24 pm

s4sando> Not even the same solar system. ;)

& OMG. I bopped over to netflix. It has less than two stars!!! Abysmal! & even the cover art is hysterically bad.

dec 18, 2010, 12:58 pm

#51> " My point about LORD JIM has been this all along, that there may be problems in stress and tone, but that the basic plot machinery of the book has not been altered. And no question that's enough to destroy a film.

Well, we disagree about whether the basic plot structure of Lord Jim was altered.

"Lost, too, in the course of all the fighting and the rushing hither and yon are the guidelines of the conflict and the urgency of what is going on," says our critic. This does not occur in the book.

In fact, I believe the second half of the movie has all sorts of events that don't occur in the book. But no matter. Our mutual re-read/re-view pact will bring these to light, I'm confident. We're agreed, maybe, that the novel Lord Jim was "destroyed" in the making of the movie.

Your idea is, I guess, that "stress and tone" and "plot" are somehow distinct elements in a movie, that one can remove the plot from a movie, like delicately removing the skeleton from a broiled trout and examining it to decide whether you like the trout or not.

But the plot, tone and stress of a movie are all intertwined into a single work of art. When a book about character becomes a book about running around with spears and burning down villages, with the character's motivation and inner travails becoming essentially ignored and forgotten amid the furor, then we can fairly say that ""If you remember Lord Jim via the movie, I'm afraid you're not remembering the book very much at all."

Regarding Forster again, I think you're still talking about difference in technique, only, and not the basic tenet of storytelling that Forster is describing. Yes, novel writers can use the technique of extended inner dialogue to show character and conflict. Movie makers have to use other techniques to accomplish that. That does not excuse movie makers from failing to do so.

Redigeret: dec 18, 2010, 6:44 pm

Jerry, a movie, as I'm certain you'll agree, is, like much artistic media, a sum of its parts. This is true of film more than any other art form because you have no single artist, but a whole collection of them--director, screenwriter, cinematographer, actor, etc.--all hopefully working in concert to produce something worthy. So absolutely I feel you can remove the skeleton--or the brain, or the heart, etc.--from a film to determine if you like it or not. More often than I can count I've watched a film with a great story but the dialogue sucked, or, like in the infamous RAZOR'S EDGE, story and dialogue were fine, but a miscast actor tanked the whole thing, or, even, using LORD JIM, as an example, the film was lopsided, and one half was better than the other. So, yes, I think all kinds of distinctions can be made apart from plot--which is why a film like TITANIC--so mediocre IMHO in its artistic areas--can win eleven Academy Awards largely in the technical arenas where it did excell. Since we have already agreed that a book-based film can depart from the plot of the book and still be a good film, our only real disagreement, I feel, is the one you stated: did the film LORD JIM destroy the book? For the various reasons we've discussed long and hard, I don't feel that it did. Again, because of your great love for the book, this is quite understandably more a concern of yours than of mine. My chief concern was: did the film entertain me. It did. In my defense, though, I do have to say that if the film so betrayed the book that it did things like have Jim evade the fatal bullet and go off with the native girl and live happily ever after, I'd be right up there with you condemning the thing. There, again, is where we differ--you thought the film met that standard of betrayal, I did not.

As for the Forster quote, we may be getting into an area too abstract for discussion. My fault, not yours.

Redigeret: dec 18, 2010, 7:21 pm

#57> "In my defense, though, I do have to say that if the film so betrayed the book that it did things like have Jim evade the fatal bullet and go off with the native girl and live happily ever after, I'd be right up there with you condemning the thing. There, again, is where we differ--you thought the film met that standard of betrayal, I did not."

Well, if your only criteria is the matter of what happens in the final scene, then we were certainly doomed not to find common ground on this question.

All of the elements cited by our reviewer and quoted by me several times are important elements of the movie that do not occur in the book, especially, from your plot-based criteria, the "splurge of wild adventures involving bad Malays, good Malays and guns" that introduces the "fade-out for Conrad in the film."

If those things are not enough for you to feel that the film diverges radically from the book at this point, then, certainly, we have different criteria along these lines. C'est la vie.

But whether or not we use the terms "betrayal" or "destroyed," what we clearly have is an absence of a rendering of the spirit, heart, skeleton or brains of the novel, Lord Jim. What we have, as you've put it, is an adventure movie that is "connected" to Lord Jim.

I'm happy that you found the movie entertaining. Certainly, that should be your most important criteria regarding any movie. But if you're remembering the novel, Lord Jim, via the movie, I'm afraid you're not remembering the book very much at all. Because if you only watch that movie, you will not have an understanding of the novel in any relevant sense.

Redigeret: dec 19, 2010, 8:01 pm

#57 Jer, my friend, I said "things like" in my discussion of outrageous alterations; the ending was just an example, not my sole criteria for the film's being faithful or not. Other outrages would have been altering Jim's act of cowardice substantially or making the native girl a white woman (as regrettably happened in one case in the film of OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS). As for "wild adventures involving bad Malays, good Malays and guns", wasn't there armed conflict at this stage in the book? I seem to remember it. In either case, I concede that my memory of the book's finer details is poor. Enough of the major plot-points remain, however--and are met by the film--for me to consider it, again, by Hollywood standards, a faithful transcription of the book plotwise. I concede the film's second half may have lost its way vis-a-vis the essence of Conrad--opting for action over character--but not egregiously enough for me to condemn the whole enterprise.

dec 23, 2010, 8:25 pm

sholofsky and rocketjk, thanks go to both of you for an enlightening discussion. Not having seen the movie (I watched a few minutes, and decided it wasn't for me), I couldn't enter in to discussion. But that's not to say I didn't enjoy the exchange of perspectives, all the more because it was offered in such a respectful and friendly fashion! I look forward to a future reading of a Conrad work with you both!

dec 23, 2010, 10:48 pm

Thanks, Dan. Ditto what I said in my message. Sorry we couldn't keep it "silly" as the thread suggested :-)

Redigeret: dec 24, 2010, 12:29 am

yes, sholofsky, I forgot to mention that I am pretty mad that you went off topic by not being silly enough. Oh well, maybe you'll make it up to the group sometime. :-)

dec 24, 2010, 1:19 am

I'm sure Maugham had his silly moments--no doubt after too much ale and not enough cake--so I'm sure I'll get my opportunity :-D

dec 24, 2010, 1:24 am

BTW> Scarlet Letter. I was able to tolerate about 10 minutes. Then I was done eating my snack, & switched it for Matador which was far steamier and intentionally funny.

Redigeret: dec 24, 2010, 5:07 am

#63 What, Katie, you didn't wait for the hot tub scene? Only reason to see the ridiculous thing! BTW thanks for keeping this thread silly--put Demi Moore and THE SCARLET LETTER together and even statues get silly grins.

dec 24, 2010, 10:52 pm

I forgot about the hot tub scene!!! Pearl doing a voice over was more than I could handle! & director credit to Dodi Fayed, & the note "Freely adapted from the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne." "Freely adapted" must be a euphemism for "we yanked the names from his book, but that's all."

Redigeret: dec 24, 2010, 11:25 pm

#65 Dodi Fayed, Princess Di's squeeze, directed this movie?!! Did everybody have to pay for this sin, even the Royal family? And is the "curse of THE SCARLET LETTER" finally over? Where is Wilkie Collins when you need him? BTW Merry Christmas Katie, and everyone else within earshot.

dec 24, 2010, 11:55 pm

Merry Xmas!!! Yes, that Dodi Fayed... He might have been producer rather than director. My assumption was that he had provided money, that he of course had lying about because he had a habit of not paying his rent.

jul 6, 2011, 4:13 am

I once found a sheet of stamps.

mar 1, 2012, 12:20 pm

Interesting enough as I was in the library looking for a Maugham book, I found a book called "Forgotten Bookmarks" by Michael Popek. It's subtitle is "A Booksellers Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages".

Redigeret: maj 17, 2012, 1:23 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.