Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two for One

I find it interesting that so many genres can be linked so easily, not just in 'literature' but in film as well. In particular, I'm thinking of the weird symbiosis between crime stories and westerns. I watched High Noon again the other day and it occured to me that the story could very easily be transposed to modern day, and it would still work (probably, someone has already done this). So I started thinking about other westerns, and every single one I could think of could also take place modern day, without changing anything at all, except the cowboy hats and horses. Don't misunderstand me, I know I'm not the first person to realize this. The movie 'A Fistful of Dollars' is nominally a remake of Kurosawa's Samurai flick 'Yojimbo', but 'Yojimbo' is a filmed version of the Hammett story 'Red Harvest'. So this 'full circle' genre idea is nothing new. But now it's got me thinking about every western and crime drama (and samurai movie!) I see, and how interesting each one would be in another genre.
Imagine 'Rio Bravo' in the 1940's. Or 'Kiss of Death' in the Old West. Or 'Double Indemnity', if Walter Neff was a cowboy, forced to travel to fuedal Japan to kill the warlord husband of a sultry geisha...
Okay, I know, that last one was just stupid. But you get the idea.
If I was one of those crazy paperback writers in the '50's, the ones who just pumped out book after book after book to make the rent, I'd have kept that idea in mind. If you come up with a good idea for a crime drama, you've also come up with a good idea for a western. Two books for the price of one.
And if you were Japanese to boot, well, that's THREE for one.

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