Friday, April 30, 2010

Forgotten Books: HICKEY & BOGGS -- Phillip Rock

I still remember going to the theater to see the movie version of Hickey and Boggs in Brownwood, Texas, back in 1972. It was an exhilarating experience, let me tell you, and I thought the movie would be a big hit. I was wrong, of course, as I usually am when I make such predictions. I'm glad the movie is finally available on DVD so I can see it again.

The novelization by "Phillip Rock" does a pretty good job of capturing the dark, gritty atmosphere of the film. This is Los Angeles as Hell, and both Hickey and Boggs (see photo on the book), are just about an inch away from becoming part of it. The only thing they have is their job, and even the job is "not about anything."

The action in the book, as in the movie, is outrageous, and even funny if you're in the right mood. Walter Hill did the screenplay that the book is based on, and he was really in a groove in the early '70s.

My own books have two small homages to the book and the movie versions. So small nobody but me will ever know what they are, and I'm not telling. It was great fun to sneak them in. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. The book's not essential, but it's still fun. And even after nearly 40 years, I can detect some of the differences between the two. I enjoyed reading the book again, and I've put the movie in the old Netflix queue.

7 comments:

  1. Never heard of this one. But I remember I Spy.

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  2. Among the aspects of HICKEY AND BOGGS that I appreciated, seeing it for the first time as a kid, was how much more Heavy it was than I SPY...at least most of I SPY...that it's a Walter Hill script makes perfect sense...

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  3. Anybody who went to the movie thinking it was going to be like I SPY was in for a really big shock.

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  4. I hope the renewed interest in H&B leads to a decent DVD. The one Netflix used to have looks like it was recorded off late-night television.

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  5. One of my favorite movies and great performances by Cosby and Culp. It's so dour, downbeat and grubby. I always thought of it as how Alexander Scott and Kelly Robinson would've ended up if they hadn't become successful spies for the govt.

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  6. Gar Haywood2:10 PM

    Okay, Bill, 'fess up: How many times did you have to see the movie (or read the book) to fully undertand what the hell it was all about?

    (Not that you had to love this film --- I sure did, long before I ever figured it out.)

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  7. I don't remember if I figured out the film when I saw it, but the book makes it all pretty clear.

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