Thursday, February 5, 2015
BOOKS AND MOVIES
The big news this week is that a second book written by Harper Lee has been found and will be published. Actually, it was a first book, having been written before TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and, in it, Scout is grown up, not a child, and has returned to Alabama to visit her father, lawyer Atticus Finch.
The publisher, Harper, is planning a print run of two million copies, expecting all Lee’s many fans - who longed for another book - to want to grab a copy now that there is a sequel. I, too, read TKAM the year it was first published, but will wait for a few reviews, I think, before ordering one. Not that I fear it won’t be good, however. After all, Lee was 34 when she wrote it and, perhaps, at the height of her literary talent.
For some reason this story reminded me of a film, originally produced in 1966, that was remade in 2012. I’m afraid I must agree with a film critic who complained a few years ago about Hollywood’s penchant for remaking successful films into less-worthy versions, “Why,” the critic suggested, “don’t they choose a “flop” and remake that into a good movie?” Something the public actually needs. We don’t need a crappy version of a successful one.
I saw the second version on Netflix and it had the same title, GAMBIT, but of course, different actors. Instead of Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine and Herbert Lom, it has Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman. Now, I happen to be a big Colin Firth fan and I admire Alan Rickman, but Cameron Diaz leaves me cold, especially playing a Texan with an thick accent.
In fact, I barely followed the updated story because of all the accents: British, Texan, Italian (Stanley Tucci) and six Chinese (or Japanese) characters. No wonder they gave it only 2-1/2 stars.
I think you can still get a copy of the original GAMBIT, so order that and you’ll be pleased. It got 5 stars and was labeled a “Classic.” If they don’t have it, write and complain.