I'm excited about this for a variety of reasons, not the least of which that The Chocolate War has long been a holy grail of mine. I also feel an obligation to put my proverbial money where my mouth is, having acted as a mediator of sorts between Señor Gordon and content producer Greg Carson in one of the initial attempts to get the film out on disc in a form that honoured its cult status. (Or at least its status as virtual Cliffs Notes for the Robert Cormier perennial on which it's based.) This was in September of 2003; things got as far as a marketing proposal, and then MGM merged with Sony, shaking the studio's release slate like an Etch-a-Sketch. I didn't know until recently that Gordon and co. had finally made some headway.
Fox has really picked up the slack since taking over the home video arm of MGM. This week alone the Lion brings us Robert Altman's fine Thieves Like Us, Ulu Grosbard's underrated True Confessions, Mike Hodges' inscrutable Pulp, and, of course, The Chocolate War, a movie I can't recommend highly enough and will (re)review in short order. I'm also supposed to interview Keith Gordon sometime in the coming weeks, and while I'm hesitant to pass up the opportunity (mostly because I flaked on a chance to sit down with the late Bob Clark not too long ago, something I'll always regret), the truth is that between his commentary track and 51-minute talking-head on The Chocolate War DVD, Keith has left very few stones unturned--at least where his first feature is concerned.
Anyway, The Chocolate War streets tomorrow, April 17th. Fox has furnished us with Quicktime clips from the film, which I've linked below. (Aside: I'd be remiss if I didn't also steer you towards Ian Pugh's tireless coverage of the 16th Philadelphia Film Festival.) I'm particularly eager to know how a whole new generation of readers will respond to the film's Bizarro interpretation of the book's coup de grâce, surely the finest revision since they scrapped the upbeat ending of David Ely's source novel for Seconds.
Everybody always says "the book was better," but what movies do you think are superior to their literary counterpart or at least improve upon it in some way?