Thursday, March 21, 2013

"BURY THEM FIRST" ~







No one speaks better about "Richard Stark" than his creator and guide Donald Westlake.


Of the 28 Stark novels, 24 feature its star "Parker" — no first name, although Westlake somewhere once said if he had to choose a first name for "Parker", he'd like "Frank". Forget that and just think "Parker" since it goes down like a rock thrown in all the novels. 


Not to confuse things — in 1999, a Richard Stark novel The Hunter was made into a film titled "Payback," after the seminal debut starring Lee Marvin as "Parker" but changed to the name "Walker" (remains the best of all Stark film versions, "Point Blank," 1967), and Mel Gibson starred in this remake. Gibson's terrific and even more terrific today as his personal life has given us a true bad boy since the film was released.


Don't take the film too seriously (though I do), after all it is a tongue in cheek noir, foolishly remade a few years later and released as a "director's-cut." While this remake may be technically wiser, it's boring, and has lost the pranks and hijinks and the delicious narration by Gibson himself reeling off his mind at what he's feeling and looking at as "Porter." He's looking at betrayal, and "Parker" (or "Porter" as he's called here) is all about loyalty. Don't cross him.


Everyone in the 1999 version of Payback gets theirs by crossing Porter.


Casting director Marion Dougherty has spun a novelty — nearly every slimeball on the outer edges of Hollywood is brought in, male and female, and by slimeball I mean trained actors who can pull it off. Like William Devane, Manu Tupou and Deborah Unger. Like Kris Kristofferson with James Coburn (combining again Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett from another earlier classic film). The director's cut erases Kristofferson completely; more dumbness.


 When Westlake was asked who he thought of as his "Parker," he answered, "Jack Palance." When I mention Palance to Sweetheart she just makes a face and says, "eeewww" (pinching her nose). 


Lee Marvin's a glorious and tall leopard-like "Walker" (Parker). Gibson's "Porter" (Parker) is playful & fed-up with idiots, can deliver impeccable Stark lines, and just wants his "$70,000". No more, no less.


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Some Novels Available by Richard Stark

    The Hunter (1962, aka Point Blank, Payback, University of Chicago Press reprint 2008) ISBN 978-0-226-77099-4
    The Man With the Getaway Face (1963, aka The Steel Hit, University of Chicago Press reprint 2008) ISBN 978-0-226-77100-7
    The Outfit (1963, University of Chicago Press reprint 2008) ISBN 978-0-226-77101-4
    The Mourner (1963, University of Chicago Press reprint 2009) ISBN 978-0-226-77103-8
    The Score (1964, aka Killtown, University of Chicago Press reprint 2009) ISBN 978-0-226-77104-5
    The Jugger (1965, University of Chicago Press reprint 2009) ISBN 978-0-226-77102-1
    The Seventh (1966, aka The Split, University of Chicago Press reprint 2009) ISBN 978-0-226-77105-2
    The Handle (1966, aka Run Lethal, University of Chicago Press reprint 2009) ISBN 978-0-226-77106-9
    The Rare Coin Score (1967, University of Chicago Press reprint 2009) ISBN 978-0-226-77107-6
    The Green Eagle Score (1967, University of Chicago Press reprint 2010) ISBN 978-0-226-77108-3
    The Black Ice Score (1968, University of Chicago Press reprint 2010) ISBN 978-0-226-77109-0
    The Sour Lemon Score (1969, University of Chicago Press reprint 2010) ISBN 978-0-226-77110-6
    Deadly Edge (1971, University of Chicago Press reprint 2010) ISBN 0-7490-0087-2 and 978-0-226-77091-8
    Slayground (1971, University of Chicago Press reprint 2010) — First chapter shared with The Blackbird, a novel in Westlake's Alan Grofield series. ISBN 978-0-226-77092-5
    Plunder Squad (1972, University of Chicago Press reprint 2010) ISBN 978-0-226-77093-2
    Butcher's Moon (1974, University of Chicago Press reprint 2011) ISBN 978-0-226-77095-6
    Comeback (1997, University of Chicago Press reprint 2011) ISBN 978-0-226-77058-1
    Backflash (1998, University of Chicago Press reprint 2011) ISBN 978-0-226-77060-4
    Flashfire (2000, University of Chicago Press reprint 2011) ISBN 978-0-226-77062-8
    Firebreak (2001, University of Chicago Press reprint 2011) ISBN 978-0-226-77065-9
    Breakout (2002)
    Nobody Runs Forever (2004)
    Ask the Parrot (2006)
    Dirty Money (2008)

Also appears in:

    The Blackbird (1969) by Richard Stark — Parker appears only the first chapter of this novel starring Alan Grofield.
    Dead Skip (1972) by Joe Gores — Parker appears briefly in a sequence that was also described (from a different viewpoint) in Plunder Squad (1972).
    Jimmy the Kid (1974) by Donald E. Westlake — This novel in Westlake's John Dortmunder series features the gang planning a caper based on a Parker novel they have. Chapters alternate between Parker committing a kidnapping (in the otherwise unavailable novel Child Heist) and the Dortmunder gang screwing it up as they try to imitate Parker. Only a few chapters of Child Heist are featured, and this particular Parker story is not complete on its own.

(wikipedia)


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