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 A&E TV series — general discussion thread 

Book to film, or film to book? Your first meeting with Nero Wolfe
A+E series - I'm a youngster! 75%  75%  [ 3 ]
Rex Stout's corpus, of course! 25%  25%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 4

 A&E TV series — general discussion thread 
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New post Re: A&E
starfish wrote:
I am sure you know that the real Mrs. Chaykin was part of the cast. It made the add-on ending (not found in the book) so very funny.

I didn't know - who does she play :?:

starfish wrote:
On the other hand, why is Wolfe amused (laughing loud and long) when told by the immigrants tales of starvation?
Of course, the poor roasted piglet scene lost me completely! :cry:

I'm with you there - the scene with Wolfe telling a long, drawn-out anecdote whilst Archie waits in the doorway made me almost as uncomfortable as the Vardas, and the ending was completely hysterical! :?

starfish wrote:
The axe fell on short notice, which makes the fact that CK derailed in spots, somewhat understandable. :cry:

I can never understand the numbers game in American television; some decent, original shows have folded after one series, just for testing the norm, and yet other programmes are allowed to run and multiply (Friends and CSI) until all the life is drained out of them! I wish the BBC, or some other European broadcaster, had come to the aid of NW, and allowed a few more episodes to be filmed, saving it from the axe.

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Wed, 25 Jul 2007, 17:38
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New post Re: A&E
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
starfish wrote:
I am sure you know that the real Mrs. Chaykin was part of the cast. It made the add-on ending (not found in the book) so very funny.

I didn't know - who does she play :?:

Sally Leeson. Chaykin's wife is Susannah Hoffman. Sources: imdb, Wikipedia.


Wed, 25 Jul 2007, 18:08
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F. you simply MUST make time to watch the A&E episodes !!
They are absolute gems, but fell victim to the taste for reality shows. I see no chance for revival. Unfortunately there are more of 'them' than there are of 'us' and in a non-government-subsidized industry, the bottom line decides. :cry:
The attention to detail and authenticity in those productions is wonderful. Just one exception would be the Canadian cars with right hand steering.
The repertory cast added so much to the enjoyment. It is fun to look at an actor in an episode and try to recall where else he had appeared. Often the role was completely different but still totally convincing.
Manon von Gerhan was a man-eating tigress on the prowl in 'Immune' and a demure, understated lady in 'Silent Speaker'.
James Tolkan was a true chamelion as FBI director in 'Doorbell', a sugar daddy in 'Doxy' and a street thug for hire in 'Disguise' ; not to forget Mrs. Robelotti's butler! :lol:
And who would imagine that Madam Zorka (Over my dead Body) had anything in common with Mrs. Bruner (Doorbell) !

They were all so very good. It's a crying shame! :cry:


Sun, 30 Sep 2007, 3:29
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New post Gambit
I've just finished Gambit, and although it's not a riveting story, I kept picturing how certain scenes would have played in an episode; I think this would have made an excellent adaptation. The chess is minimal, but it would look stylish onscreen, and there is a handful of strong characters (although I wasn't convinced as to Mrs Blount's 'appeal', even though Stout has every male character ram it down the reader's throat): Sally (perhaps Francie Swift?) and her mother, Kalmus, Avery; not to mention Cramer throwing another fit!

There's one scene where Archie describes Wolfe dropping a piece of paper onto his desk just as Archie previously let it drop onto a table, and I had a mini-director's moment of how that could play! :roll: Plus, this story highlights the strength and trust of Wolfe and Archie's relationship, which is a quality that Hutton et al were always quick to latch onto: another pseudo betrayal, and Archie telling somebody that Wolfe would never consider keeping anything secret from him merely because a client had requested it.

Any casting suggestions for this fantasy? I couldn't think of a 'mature' actress from the repertory cast able to carry off the part of Mrs Blount.

I will be dissecting the book for quotes, of course! :D

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Sun, 30 Sep 2007, 20:03
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Aaarrrrrrrgh!!! Adonis, you have a singular talent for picking the very few books I don't own!
'Gambit' is another one; and I liked it even better than 'Too many women'.
So, back to the library, because it has been over a year since I read it and also because I would like to partake in a discussion.

You opened another fun track . . . . picking a cast for the not-filmed stories. 8) Very promising.

While we are in a what-if mode, I wish Stout would have done a murder involving bridge - somewhat on the order of AC's 'Cards on the Table' - just better, of course, :lol: and featuring Mr. Nathaniel Parker, played perfectly by the one and only George Plimpton. :wink:


Sun, 30 Sep 2007, 21:03
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starfish wrote:
Aaarrrrrrrgh!!! Adonis, you have a singular talent for picking the very few books I don't own!
'Gambit' is another one; and I liked it even better than 'Too many women'.

Sorry! :wink: I tend to prefer the underrated stories, rather than the main titles re-released by Bantam that are easily available; my copy of 'Too Many Women' was a generous donation from another fan, and is falling to pieces, and 'Gambit' is a Crime Club hardback! Perversely, my local library has very few Wolfe books - when I read 'In The Best Families' for the first time, I had to borrow a large print version, and the same with Doxy! :shock:

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You opened another fun track . . . . picking a cast for the not-filmed stories. 8) Very promising.

Ooh, yes, I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions! :D It is absolutely typical - there were so many books to go for Nero Wolfe, not least the Zeck trilogy, and yet it was cancelled after two series; yet other shows are allowed to spawn franchises and dribble on long after death (I've just watched a trailer for the eleventh season of 'South Park', for heaven's sake! :evil: )

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and featuring Mr. Nathaniel Parker, played perfectly by the one and only George Plimpton. :wink:

I adore that man, I really do - hasn't he passed on, now? :cry: He was fantastic as one of the partners in Silent Speaker ('Give 'im hell!') and as the infirm boss in EMMM; he's just a class act. I agree with what you were saying previously, too, about the cast being able to switch roles so flawlessly - on occasion, I barely connected one or two with their previous part! (And I love James Tolkan's laugh as Wragg!)

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Sun, 30 Sep 2007, 22:15
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New post Re: Gambit
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I will be dissecting the book for quotes, of course! :D

This is interesting to me from the technical point of view, Adonis. You select quotations retrospectively, after you've read the whole book :?: I do that while reading a book; a reader's reactions seem more spontaneous in the midst of reading a text, rather than after having read all of it.

I agree with you that Gambit isn't really one of the best Wolfe stories; still, I've managed to select a few quotes from it, and I've already written a 5-minute review of the novel, to appear on this site shortly. 8)

As to the hypothetical TV version of Gambit, I'd definitely tune in to watch at least the opening few minutes: the scenes from chapter 1 that have (perhaps undeservedly so) made Gambit unforgettable to Nero Wolfe fans – Wolfe burning Merriam Webster's Third New International Dictionary in the fireplace in the Brownstone's front room. :twisted:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
Any casting suggestions for this fantasy? I couldn't think of a 'mature' actress from the repertory cast able to carry off the part of Mrs Blount.

Marlene Dietrich would have carried off Mrs. Blount just fine. Oh, she's dead and not part of the repertory cast anyway? Sorry... :oops: As long as we're in the realm of fantasy... :wink:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
starfish wrote:
featuring Mr. Nathaniel Parker, played perfectly by the one and only George Plimpton. :wink:

I adore that man, I really do - hasn't he passed on, now? :cry:

Yes. :(


Sun, 30 Sep 2007, 22:41
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New post Re: Gambit
Faterson wrote:
This is interesting to me from the technical point of view, Adonis. You select quotations retrospectively, after you've read the whole book :?: I do that while reading a book; a reader's reactions seem more spontaneous in the midst of reading a text, rather than after having read all of it.

My technique is actually somewhere in between: I read the book, marking quotes that appeal to me (or trying to remember them if I don't have a pencil handy to circle the page number - I wonder what Wolfe would think to that? :wink:), and then go back through the book once I have finished and type up the quotes. I like to read without interruption, if possible, but you're right, it easier to pick out quotes whilst the text is still fresh in the mind. It's also easier to review, which I've been tempted to do with Gambit myself ...

Quote:
I agree with you that Gambit isn't really one of the best Wolfe stories; still, I've managed to select a few quotes from it, and I've already written a 5-minute review of the novel, to appear on this site shortly. 8)

I don't know about a five-minute review - although I did use to enjoy writing running commentaries for my favourite programmes - but Gambit raised a few questions: was Stout already building Archie up for his 'graduation' in A Family Affair, and was he setting Orrie up with the sly dig about Archie having three telephone numbers by which to reach him? Is Mrs Blount a successful character - Stout is very insistent that she is an attractive, alluring woman, but I was more convinced by the object of Paul Chapin's affections in League, and by the 'snake' in If Death Ever Slept. I did like Sally, however, who was subtle but strong - I almost adapted to her as part of the brownstone! SPOILER ahead! Also, I actually twigged who the murderer was - is this a sign that Stout's writing was slackening? And once again, said murderer is allowed by Wolfe to escape justice by suicide - I'm not sure if I agree with such machinations. Why didn't Wolfe keep 'x' at the brownstone for Cramer to arrest?

So I got a lot more out of reading this minor story than I usually do, and I would like to review it, but not in the five minute style!

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Mon, 1 Oct 2007, 10:55
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New post Re: Gambit
Faterson wrote:
Marlene Dietrich would have carried off Mrs. Blount just fine. Oh, she's dead and not part of the repertory cast anyway? Sorry... :oops: As long as we're in the realm of fantasy... :wink:


Whilst casting from that great green room in the sky - how about Glenn Ford as Archie? I was watching 'Gilda' recently, and he has the nose, the grin, the toughness, the charm, to have played the character easily, I think :?:

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Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 14:32
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New post Re: Gambit
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I actually twigged who the murderer [in Gambit] was

Me too. And I was disappointed by that. :(

I've just posted my 5-minute review of Gambit. I rate this novel a D+, and the review explains why.

I've also launched a new discussion forum thread for Gambit, so as not to interfere too much with the present A&E thread.

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
how about Glenn Ford as Archie?

Not for me :!: A great actor, without any doubt, but not really Archie's type, I'd say. :wink: Glenn Ford seems to be a similar type to James Garner who you said earlier resembles the ideal Phil Marlowe for you.

You seem to appreciate the Glenn Ford and James Garner types of actors, Adonis, but I wasn't comfortable with Garner as Marlowe, and wouldn't be with Ford as Archie either. Timothy Hutton was perfect in the role, imo. (Unlike Maury Chaykin who, although excellent, still left something to be desired, for me.)


Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 14:53
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Faterson wrote:
You seem to appreciate the Glenn Ford and James Garner types of actors, Adonis, but I wasn't comfortable with Garner as Marlowe, and wouldn't be with Ford as Archie either. Timothy Hutton was perfect in the role, imo. (Unlike Maury Chaykin who, although excellent, still left something to be desired.)


It might be suspected that we each read the other's views, and then run screaming in the opposite direction :wink:

I do indeed like the Ford/Garner type, but that's just personal preference :wink: For Archie, I am basing my selections on the various references in the corpus, by Archie himself and others, that Archie is handsome in a rough, rugged form: Gary Cooper, not Cary Grant, etc. Also, the nose is always a factor, because I can never quite picture the description Stout once penned of a small nose that is not quite a pug, with a tip that 'shows startling initiative'; I'm forever searching for a model that will set my imagination at ease!

I agree with you totally about Hutton, but I'm intrigued to know what it is about his performance that you approve of - let's see if we can agree about agreeing!

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Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 15:00
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AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I agree with you totally about Hutton, but I'm intrigued to know what it is about his performance that you approve of

Off-hand, before I start off for a late lunch (no Fritz around here, so I need to undertake a Goodwinesque 2x15-minute brisk city-streets walk every day to enjoy a lunch/dinner, and I actually sometimes think of Archie while doing that, and it always makes me smile):

Timothy Hutton's main asset could perhaps be described as follows – humorous swagger. I think this captures the spirit of Archie Goodwin perfectly. You can see Timothy Hutton swaggering a lot of the time in the TV adaptations, but it's a sort of good-natured swagger. There's a lot of irony, including self-irony, in how Tim Hutton plays the role. Again, the grimaces you can frequently see Hutton make in the TV episodes capture this perfectly.

Also, Hutton's physique seems to be just right: not a Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or anyone that mobs of teenage girls would call a sex-symbol, but definitely someone likely to be perceived as handsome by most women.

So, although the external features (nose and other “trimmings” :wink:) as decribed by Stout may not correspond in Timothy Hutton, the basics are all there.

I just hope a miracle happens and they can still make a few more Nero Wolfe episodes before Tim Hutton definitely gets too old. :?


Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 15:24
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Faterson wrote:
Timothy Hutton's main asset could perhaps be described as follows – humorous swagger. I think this captures the spirit of Archie Goodwin perfectly. You can see Timothy Hutton swaggering a lot of the time in the TV adaptations, but it's a sort of good-natured swagger. There's a lot of irony, including self-irony, in how Tim Hutton plays the role. Again, the grimaces you can frequently see Hutton make in the TV episodes capture this perfectly.

Also, Hutton's physique seems to be just right: not a Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or anyone that mobs of teenage girls would call a sex-symbol, but definitely someone likely to be perceived as handsome by most women.

So, although the external features (nose and other “trimmings” :wink:) as decribed by Stout may not correspond in Timothy Hutton, the basics are all there.

I just hope a miracle happens and they can still make a few more Nero Wolfe episodes before Tim Hutton definitely gets too old. :?


Yep, yep, and yep! :D I was watching Doxy again recently, and Hutton's walk out of the 'paddock', after meeting with Orrie, is the perfect example of the distinctive walk that Lily remarks on in Caesar, that I could never picture until the series.

I would call Timothy Hutton a sex symbol, by the way - far more substance than 'Grin and Bear (or should that be 'bare'?) It' actors like Cruise and Pitt; he is handsome, but also very expressive - he is equally tough/charming/'wholesome'/sexy, and Archie has to be all of these, too. Not sure on the 'grimaces', but Timothy Hutton certainly seemed to enjoy himself immensely whilst filming the episodes!

I'm glad that Hutton doesn't have Archie's nearly-red hair, but I think the nose is close :wink:

Has Hutton completely finished with the Wolfe series, then? Have you read any interviews to suggest that he would be interested in another series? :?

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Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 15:50
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Adonis, is this James Garner of "The Rockford Files"? If so, you will have to fight me for him!

IMO a very young James Garner would have been an even better Archie than Hutton, perfect as Hutton is. (I am asking for it, aren't I?)

On second thought, Garner would have been the better Archie-about-town, gathering facts and bamboozling the bad guys, whereas Hutton is the better in-house foil for wolfe .


Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 22:03
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Adonis, I'm afraid the chances for continuing the series are bleak, considering the whole immaculate set of the Brownstone (all filmed in Canada) has been sold out, partly in auctions. One of the fans on one of the Wolfe lists reported with pride, and a few photographs, several years ago, he was able to secure the globe from Wolfe's TV office for his own home.

But, there's still the opportunity for them to shoot any of the out-of-Brownstone stories, such as Too Many Cooks, Some Buried Caesar (would have to be big-budget, probably, due to the bulls!), Death of a Dude (on-location in Montana :D) or even (gulp!) The Black Mountain (on extra-cheap location in Montenegro, though I doubt people over there know much about Nero Wolfe).

It would have to happen real quick, though, because I can't imagine a 50+ year-old Timothy Hutton playing Archie in the capers of, say, Some Buried Caesar. (He's already 47 this year!)

On the other hand, Death of a Dude in Montana could very well be done even with Hutton over 50 years old, and Chaykin over 70 years old – no problem with that story that has a calmer feel to it. The same goes for A Family Affair – but they'd have to reassemble the Brownstone for that one first. :(


Sat, 6 Oct 2007, 22:17
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