Friday, February 22, 2008

Dexter

Sometimes the TV or movie version of a novel lets you down. Often it does. But in the case of Dexter, I found the novel too dark and expected to find the TV version even darker. But because of the talent of Michael Hall, I am able to watch it.

He gives a humanity to Dexter I was never able to find in the book. Although he may tell the viewer, he can't love, you can see that he can indeed experience love when he looks at his sister, or his girlfriend's kids or perhaps even his girlfriend. The message in his voiceovers are softened by the glint in his eyes, the delicacy in his touch.

Can you think of other examples of actors that made a character from a novel more palatable or lovable or real. Usually it goes the other way. Although Anthony Hopkins created a memorable Hannibal Lector it wasn't bu softening him, but by creating a character you couldn't take your eyes off of. In a TV series, that probably wouldn't work.

15 comments:

Chuck said...

I thought that PBS's version of "Pride and Prejudice" was better than the book. Mr. Collins and Lady DeBurg were great as was Mrs.Bennett. They were all great, even Kitty.

pattinase (abbott) said...

No one will ever surpass Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (at least for me). A great production. He got the character down so well, he's been playing it ever since.

Todd Mason said...

THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE is my default example of a film that improves in nearly every way on its source novel (I seem to recall that it's threatened with remake, and Ed Gorman growls). For me, Thomas Harris's Lecter was too close to a caricature of Pyoor Evul in the novels, at least the first two (haven't read the subsequent work); Hopkins pushed the character well into cartoonland. I didn't catch the edited DEXTER on CBS...are you watching it on DVD, or on broadcast, Patti?

Gerald So said...

Tom Selleck makes Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone more sympathetic and believable though Selleck is about 25 years older than the Jesse of the books.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Selleck, like Tom Hanks, could make Hitler sympathetic. I never bought Robert Ulrich as Spenser though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Todd-saw the first three a while ago on DVD but I'm watching it again. Pelham is great but I never read the novel to compare it.

Anonymous said...

I sure can't take my eyes off of Michael C Hall!!!! He is memorizing as Dexter Morgan.
He was excellent in Six Feet Under as well.

He'd just amazing.

pattinase (abbott) said...

He's terrific. Can't imagine anyone else in the part.

Josephine Damian said...

Pelham 1-2-3 trivia: Those were my relatives who produced the original movie. Haven't seen it since it was first released in the 1970's, but definitely will buy it for my DVD collection.

Did you know Denzel was remaking "Pelham"?

Dexter? I find it interesting that it's on CBS now (and I can watch it!). Jeff Lindsay is a local writer. His first books, FL-based mystery series were dropped by his publisher and his books went out of print - instead of wallowing in self-pity, he re-invented himself as an author. I must confess to not having read the "Dexter" books.

But is interesting the increase in popularity of main characters who justify killing/ bad deeds - I find that the youth of American is much more accepting of bad behavior in real life as well as in fiction - a troubling trend.

Tom Hanks in the movie version of "Bonfire of the Vanities" just did not work for me at all. Hopkins was certainly physically different than the Lectre in the book.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, there is much moaning over the remake because the original was so...original. The remake might seem more retro. I started the book but found it too unpleasant so I was surprised to like the series and I credit Hall with that.
Bonfire was a...bonfire on every count.

Todd Mason said...

Apropos of only tangential relevance to this discussion, but repeated tangents...
http://socialistjazz.blogspot.com/2008/02/best-nights-of-televisionin-usover-last.html

pattinase (abbott) said...

Looking at the TV schedules for remembered great nights-like NBC on Thursdays or Tuesdays in the mid-nineties, there was always a Caroline in the City or Suddenly Susan or Don't Shoot Me to spoil the night so I still vote for CBS on Saturday in the seventies as the best span of shows.

Todd Mason said...

Though only in 1972-73 was CBS's Saturday night absolutely golden...M*A*S*H was soon moved away when it started to grow some legs. For me, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW was the weakest link in that season...it was obvious to me even as a kid that every episode needed to make some time for someone to congratulate Mary Richards on how wonderful she was.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We didn't notice that at the time but it doesn't hold up as well as I would have hoped. But neither does MASH. Just can't get interested in getting angry over that war when I angry about this one. And after the first years, it was all about anger, it fairly rat-a-tat-tats off the screen.
And I was never a Carol Burnett fan.
So where does that leave us. Bob and Archie.

Todd Mason said...

Yeah...part of the intoxication, as a kid in 1975-76, was the wide array of comedic style I was exposed to each week as I went from MOORE to NEWHART to BURNETT to PYTHON to SNL...and certainly M*A*S*H was bursting at the seams in the first three seasons, with anger and wit about both Korea and Vietnam, which would eventually be replaced with heavy syrup (albeit that did at least dilute the too-frequent misogyny of the early series, notable also in PYTHON).