Monday, October 11, 2010

From book to screen

Masterpiece Mystery's version of Henning Mankell's The Man Who Smiled, which aired last night on PBS, was quite different than the book. The basic structure was there, and the essential mystery was the same, but many of the details were different. Understandably, the screenwriters streamlined the plot some, but also added some plot devices that don't exist in the book, which I think better explained the criminal activity at the center of the plot. Anyway, it was not one of my favorite Wallander books or one my favorite Masterpiece Mystery adaptations. 

I am liking The Fifth Woman much more. I am nearly halfway through the book now and it's dense and only going to get denser, I imagine. It's the next and last film in the Masterpiece Mystery's Wallander II series  and it will be interesting to see how the screenwriters condense it. There's a little less Wallander angst and a lot more complex crime story. The Man Who Smiled is essentially a simple mystery that plays second fiddle to the drama of Wallander's personal struggles. In The Fifth Woman, there is the usual commentary on society and a personal tragedy for Wallander, but the mystery is front and center. The episode airs next Sunday on PBS.

After I finish The Fifth Woman, I'm going for something a bit lighter. Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story perhaps. I need the break.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OT and I apologize for it I
am late coming to your blog. I got very busy after I saw you on another blog.
I love mysteries. My bookcase is full of both modern and historical mysteries. Right now I am re-reading the historical mysteries by C.J. Sansom.