Jan. 2, 2009, 1:22 a.m. CST
by Fat and Curious
Jan. 2, 2009, 1:26 a.m. CST
by the milf lover
I still need to see the director's cut. Cant say I know anything else about Mr. Westlake as I am not much of a reader at all. Still, my condolences to his loved ones on their loss. <p> On a different note, you say "They wouldn't even have to keep Gibson, because in the second book (The Man With the Getaway Face) he gets plastic surgery to hide out." What? So that means Frank Miller stole that bit for Dwight when he did it in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For? Damn.
Jan. 2, 2009, 1:32 a.m. CST
by Clarence Boddicker
A good read and educational at the same time. I've never read his works...perhaps now I will.
Jan. 2, 2009, 1:35 a.m. CST
Westlake was unbelievably prolific. I usually try to stay away from authors who publish books more frequently than I vacuum my house, but you can't go wrong with Westlake. While not all his books are masterpieces, none of them has disappointed me. I find it remarkable that he managed to write both one of the funniest (Dortmunder) and one of the most bad ass (Parker) crime series. If you don't know the man's work, check it out, it's not too late.
Jan. 2, 2009, 1:54 a.m. CST
I saw "Point Blank" years ago (and just bought it for my dad for Christmas) and that influenced me to go out and read his Richard Stark/Parker series. The funny thing is, as big as fan as I am of Westlake's novels and his screenplays, I did not know until now that he wrote the script for "The Stepfather". I guess there is always something new to learn.
Jan. 2, 2009, 2:08 a.m. CST
I had the pleasure of interviewing him two years ago for a 20th anniversary article I wrote about the making of The Stepfather. He said he loved talking about the movie because it was one of his few good experiences with Hollywood. He told some great stories, including how the filmmakers couldn't change even ONE word in the script unless Westlake approved of it (that was written into his contract -- a contract, he joked, that should be in the Smithsonion!). He was a truly talented man whose presence will be missed. RIP Don... We talked for a couple of hours, but you treated me as if we had been friends for life.
Jan. 2, 2009, 2:17 a.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
I haven't a word more to say
other than to say next to King, this is (well maybe Lovecraft) the only author I own more books written by.<br><br>Although, I haven't read them all, so there is more to read...
Jan. 2, 2009, 2:53 a.m. CST
Man I just reread the Hunter for like the tenth time about a month ago. Westlake was quite the writer. Thank you sir, for the many fine hours I spent immerssed in your worlds.
Jan. 2, 2009, 2:57 a.m. CST
He was and always will be a classic, a legend for all time.
Jan. 2, 2009, 3:43 a.m. CST
I'll have to go and re-read some Westlake now...
Jan. 2, 2009, 4:19 a.m. CST
You were a great writer weather it be in novels or screenplays. You influenced countless people, Godspeed
Jan. 2, 2009, 5 a.m. CST
by Alonzo Mosely
I loved me some Parker, and it is amazing, or perhaps it isn't, that we never got a faithful adaptation...
Jan. 2, 2009, 5:25 a.m. CST
I'm ashamed that I wasn't aware of this great man's work; I wasn't even aware that Point Blank was based on one of his novels but you've got my interest in reading the Parker books now. RIP Donald Westlike
Jan. 2, 2009, 6:06 a.m. CST
And THAT'S Goddard for you, fellas ! Especially during his quasi-Marxist, pseudo-' Anti American ' times, of basically salivating over blond U.S. girls and getting real angry at Flash Gordon comics ( or something ). And that supposedly ' Maoist ' ' La Chinoise ', MAAAAAAAN. Tom Clancy is a real bigger - and more relevant - U.S. policy critic than HIM, back there. Or ever. </p> I do respect him as a filmmaker, of course : admire his mastery of technique, like some of his films ( albeit most of them tending to dissolve into this ' lovey dovey ' schtick ), approve his view and use of film as continuing argumentation ( hence, ' the film essay ' ), hated his pomposity. Most especially the seemingly base-level impetus behind it, w/c looks to me as him vainly trying to resolve his horniness with girls, and a sort of loud, irascible, amorphic sense of ' politics ' you won't think he'd actually dignify in the streets. Just a random series of frustrations he's simply indulging in . We know that the thought of an American empire sucks, but please don't get toke up on it as some indulgence you can afford ! Like his crusade, it all ends up aimless, in bordering on NOTHING. He dourly scoffs at America's everything, yet has been living off its iconoclasms for YEARS. </p> ( And his whole ' tirade ' with Spielberg. Completely and utterly ridiculous. Dang, isn't the guy not Jew enough for ya ?( Not to sound Anti-Semitic, but not to be exactly pro-Israeli-Imperial-Neofascist-Agression War Machine, either ). The fact he seems to be less sympathetic to Oscar Schindler's ' wife ' in Argentina, as he argued , and more to the ACTUAL HOLOCAUST VICTIMS' DESCENDANTS he's been helping with his Hollywood carreer blatantly speaks otherwise ! )</p></p> That's why it's Jean Pierre Melville that I feel is the best among all of them Nouevelle Vague. He's the only one who actually buckles down and focuses on MAKING GREAT FILMS, more than merely talking about them; honing his arguments truly fine. He should have been the one to do those ' Parker ' novels like you described.
Jan. 2, 2009, 6:28 a.m. CST
http://www.donaldwestlake.com/wks_bkex5.html. But only three a year. Affordable copies of Sour Lemon, Plunder and Butchers should be available in 2011-2012...
Jan. 2, 2009, 7:20 a.m. CST
I've found that anything written by Westlake/Stark is worth a read. I love crime novels, and Westlake was one of the kings of the genre. The only book I couldn't get through was Ask the Parrot. Not sure why I couldn't make it through, but it just never caught my interest. I kind of think Westlake/Stark was one of those guys, like just about every writer you can think of, whose work got a little more watered-down the older he got. But those early 60s and 70s novels are always fantastic. I've read The Hunter a couple of times, and I love that the best. The writer may die, but his work will live on... RIP, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark.
Jan. 2, 2009, 7:23 a.m. CST
I don't necessarily think you can say Miller stole that plastic surgery bit from Westlake. That's kind of an old staple of the genre. Ever see Dark Passage? It's this great old movie where Humphrey Bogart is on the lam and he gets plastic surgery and spends half the movie with a bandage over his face. Definitely worth a watch, my friend.
Jan. 2, 2009, 7:57 a.m. CST
Sound right up my alley though. I actually liked the theatrical version of Payback more then the Directors cut... Lee Marvin may have been the toughest, most badass man to grace the silver screen.
Jan. 2, 2009, 8:05 a.m. CST
Everyone loves his brutal pulpy crime stuff...but I'll always love Westlake for the Dortmunder books...great tight plotting and freakin' hilarious...
Jan. 2, 2009, 8:05 a.m. CST
At least U of Chicago press is re-releasing all of the Parker novels, three a season, with cool new covers and introductions by John Banville. Damn. Part of me just thought that Westlake would go on forever...
Jan. 2, 2009, 8:07 a.m. CST
Frank Miller stole just about every single plot trope and line of dialogue in the Sin City series. The plot of 'A Dame to Kill For' is one of the most recycled of all time.
Jan. 2, 2009, 8:47 a.m. CST
I just finished reading the latest Stark book, Dirty Money, a few weeks ago and now there will be no more. Mel should make some more Stark movies. He has that crazy energy that isn't really right for the character Parker, but is a lot of fun on film anyway. I agree that Lee Marvin had the quiet cool to be the perfect Parker but he too alas is gone.
Jan. 2, 2009, 9:11 a.m. CST
I am with you on the Stark Parker novels Vern. I love those books and that character.
Jan. 2, 2009, 9:21 a.m. CST
Abebooks is usually the place to go to find rarer stuff. Not sure what your budget is, but it appears that there are some *cheaper* but not cheap copies out there. http://tinyurl.com/7m6shx You're welcome! ☺ Westlake will be missed!
Jan. 2, 2009, 9:23 a.m. CST
Unless you are some type of germ-phobic. Support your local library!
Jan. 2, 2009, 9:27 a.m. CST
He had a great sense of humor- very dark and playful, like Vern said. All you have to do is watch THE GRIFTERS and see what Westlake's mind was capable of producing. I haven't read a book by the man for several years, but his stories always stuck in my mind. His talent is available for anyone to enjoy in his volumes of books.<p> Rest in peace, Mr.... all of you.
Jan. 2, 2009, 9:31 a.m. CST
That guy may be British, but like Christian Bale, he don't sound British when he wants.
Jan. 2, 2009, 10:07 a.m. CST
Good Call on Dominic West as Parker. I've been racking my brain trying to think of somebody to play Parker and you nailed it. I thought Gibson was good but he's to old now I think and most every other actor is too soft. Lee Marvin was the best.
Jan. 2, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST
I had about 10 of the Parkers, in skinny little 2-titles-1-book paperbacks, with both books starting at one cover and meeting in the middle (they were upside down to each other). Good stuff. Slayground was always my favorite. The Burglar Who... series is also pretty good, though cutesy. RIP
Jan. 2, 2009, 10:50 a.m. CST
He never talked about that...wonder why...!
Jan. 2, 2009, 11:09 a.m. CST
Anyone ever read his horror-ish short story NACKLES, about the anit-Santa Claus? Creepy stuff...
Jan. 2, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST
by Jim Bolo
Bad, bad news. I was lucky enough to meet him a few years back when he came to London to introduce a screening of Point Blank at the NFT and to talk about his work afterwards. Still got the autographed ticket stub. There were some great anecdotes, some quality thoughts and observations. I remember coming away from it thinking how how articulate the guy seemed. I wish I could remember more about the night, apart from Westlake saying Jack Palance was his first choice for Point Blank, and wished he'd chosen a different name for Parker as it was always a pain in the ass writing scenes about him driving that didn't end with 'Parker parks his car'. Of his more recent books, I finished Road To Ruin and Watch Your Back a couple of months ago. The Dortmunder books are a lot more light-hearted than the Parkers. Both made me laugh by the time I got to the final page. Farewell, Mr Westlake, you are missed already.
Jan. 2, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST
at a price that wasn't too bad. Thanks for the help with that. Those other two will have to wait though. Also I got a nice email that convinced me I have to read all the Dortmunders. Anybody know any details about Westlake's alleged work on Tomorrow Never Dies?
Jan. 2, 2009, 12:03 p.m. CST
Discovered Westlake in the seventh grade some decades back, beginning with The Hot Rock. Never got around to reading any of the Stark or Coe novels, though I did read one of the Holt books. I think the best Westlake adaptation, in terms of capturing the flavor of his writing, is the TV-movie "A Slight Case of Murder," starring William H. Macy. It's a shame that WB had "Help, I Am Being Held Prisoner" in development at one time, but never followed through. Would have made a great vehicle for Gene Wilder or, later, Robin Williams. Would also make a fun TV series. My favorite of the non-humorous ones of Westlake's is "Killing Time," which has been favorably compared to Hammett's "Red Harvest" (and with good reason). Stephen King has also been a longtime Westlake fan, and incorporated references to Westlake's books in his own novels before eventually writing "The Dark Half" as an homage to the Westlake/Stark relationship.
Jan. 2, 2009, 12:05 p.m. CST
Visit Westlake's web site. Hopefully it still contains the "Starship Hopeful" stories that were originally published in Playboy. Funny stuff, and again would make a good series.
Jan. 2, 2009, 12:31 p.m. CST
Full Contact, starring Chow Yun-Fat. It's an unofficial Hong Kong remake of Point Blank, directed by Ringo Lam. Very dark, violent and gritty. Excellent action scenes (fairly realistic ones as far as Hong Kong films go). Basic plot is the same, though there are changes to character motivation and the fates of certain characters.
Jan. 2, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST
Darwyne Cooke (The New Frontier) is going to be adapting the Parker books as comics for IDW, I think. First one comes out late this year.
Jan. 2, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST
Before I got the email alert that it was available for pre-order. It took like 5 years. Man I love that movie, great DVD commentary, watch it with the Limey. I will read these books now based on Vern's recommendation as I am total Vern lover. Dude knows the pulse of near middle age guys.
Jan. 2, 2009, 4:16 p.m. CST
Supposedly Westlake wrote the original treatment for the flick, but it was never used. None of his ideas remain in the final product.
Jan. 2, 2009, 4:39 p.m. CST
Jett Travolta, the 16 year old son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston died after apparently having a seizure and hitting his head in the bathtub of their vacation home in the Bahamas. My thoughts go out to his family. Tragic, horrible loss.
Jan. 2, 2009, 4:43 p.m. CST
I will check out FULL CONTACT, thanks for the tip Wyr. And Jim, thanks for the TOMORROW NEVER DIES info. Was it ever reported what his version was about?
Jan. 2, 2009, 5:24 p.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
I read that too. Apparently he's had a history of seizures. It is quite sad anytime a father outlives his son.
Jan. 2, 2009, 5:37 p.m. CST
by Stuntcock Mike
Full Contact is totally insane. Insanly good.
Jan. 2, 2009, 6:19 p.m. CST
Man, 2008 sure was brutal. I didn't know he was behind a lot of good stuff. Thoughts and prayers as always.
Jan. 2, 2009, 9:20 p.m. CST
I was able to find all of them with the assistance of my local library. I did end up purchasing a couple of the Grofield's at affordable prices through used online book stores.
Jan. 2, 2009, 10:55 p.m. CST
Only book I've read from him thus far, and I can't say i remember every detail as it's been a good 10 or so years since I read it, but I do remember enjoying it at the time. It's about a career thief who breaks into a lab where two docs are doing research for the tobacco industry, and then proceed to force him to take a drug that makes him invisible. Hilarity ensues...for reals...
Jan. 2, 2009, 10:59 p.m. CST
He was supposed to stay at a hotel I managed years ago and I had to have all the windows blacked out to the point that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, that was the instructions, then we were to remove all sheets from all the rooms, all scents, all products, all mirrors, all items that could be thrown, hurled, used to stab, bludgeon, impale ect... it was all in the instrutions. I was terrified of what this kid was going to be like, there was so many instructions and I have dealt with many, many, many celebrities and rich to do types this one scared the hell outta me. Not surprised it ended badly. All that Scientology stuff about not medicating.
Jan. 2, 2009, 11 p.m. CST
by Teapot Jones
I turned on to the Parker novels two years ago, and also got stuck around Sour Lemon. This Christmas, my father (who has also become a big fan) gave me two 3-ring binders with Plunder and Butcher's in them, which he got from library copies. Unethical, yes, but even as amazing as these books are, who wants to pay over $500 for them (and I thought the $300 it was going for a couple months ago was insane). Anyway, look forward to Slayground since you're going in order, Vern. Probably my second-fav of the series after The Score. Also, a long-time fan of your work. Great to here you're a Stark fan as well.
Jan. 2, 2009, 11:33 p.m. CST
Really can't seem to find any info on what his treatment was about, but damn wouldn't that be a cool little read... His Bond would prob resemble Craig more than Brosnan.
Jan. 3, 2009, 1:16 a.m. CST
by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World
Or maybe it would have just been Point Blank with Alain Delon instead of Lee Marvin, who knows. I do know that's a hell of a christmas present though, Teapot Jones.
Jan. 3, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST
It's a terrific relgio/scifi story about the end of the world. I don't understand how it hasn't been optioned yet.
Jan. 3, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST
Westlake's Dortmunder books were among my favorites. He was the polar opposite of Parker, a perennial fuck-up, in and out of prison, no guarantees that his capers would even result in a payday. But just so damn much fun to read.
Jan. 3, 2009, 8:46 p.m. CST
He just had the most horrible luck in the world. It's proof of his cleverness that he always managed to get out out of whatever trouble his bad luck got him into. If you just know the hard-boiled Westlake, you'll be surprised how funny he could be. Oh and Jimmy the Kid features a sort-of crossover between Dortmunder and Parker. RIP Donald Westlake.
Jan. 7, 2009, 1:23 p.m. CST
this link to the Thrilling Detective site... a great listing for Westlake, with a chronology of Dortmunder/Parker storylines, how they crossover, spin-offs, etc. http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/westlake.html