The Killers

A great story, perhaps especially a great short story, leaves the reader to answer some of the questions. A bad one does, too, mind you, but a good one does it well? I digress. Ernest Hemingway's The Killers is a great short story that leaves a lot of questions for its readers, and for some reason people making film adaptations seek to answer them all. We're watching two such adaptations this week, and a third that leaves well enough alone. Andrei Tarkovsky's short student film version from 1956 is the most straightforward adaptation of the bunch, for better or worse. Likewise, Robert Siodmak's 1946 version starts with a straightforward retelling then veers into wildly unlikely directions with it's solid Noir adaptation. Meanwhile Don Siegal's 1964 version veers so wildly it would be nearly unrecognizable as an adaptation if it weren't for the title. But then, Siegal's is the only version with Lee Marvin as an anti-hero and Ronald Reagan in his only villainous roll. Watching any of them is a great way to spend your time, watching all three is a, well, something we did.

Solaris

Stanislaw Lem, the author of the novel Solaris, hated Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film adaptation so very very much, though as Pat points out in our extended conversation on what to do with the "death of an author" is the author just refuses to die, this is probably just because it was different from his vision. There's a lot to talk about here, and Pat and I do a lot of talking, though this episode could have easily been 5 hours long. It's not! Don't worry!

Andrei Rublev

Andrei Tarkovsky's 1966 almost-a-biopic film about the artist Andrei Rublev was suppressed almost before it came out, but many things with any merit were in Soviet Russia so it's not that surprising. Eventually Martin Scorsese found a copy of the film and brought it out of Russia, and that copy is where the Criterion Collection edition comes from. The film is quite the trip, and a long one, but thought-provoking nonetheless.