23 September, 2006

My Heroes (17) Richard Condon

Richard Condon's most famous novel, published in 1959
Richard Condon was born in New York in 1915. After working briefly in advertising and publicity, his second novel, The Manchurian Candidate and the first movie of the book, made him famous. His books are hugely enjoyable and very readable. Although entertaining and funny, they have satirical targets and connect subjects such as US politics, the fast-food industry and the Mafia as a part of the same interrelated truth about the madness of the world. Other novels of his have been filmed; these include Winter Kills, transparently based on the Kennedy assassinations, A Talent For Loving which, at one time, was going to be a vehicle for The Beatles and re-titled Eight Arms To Hold You but it never happened. In 1985 a very successful film was made of Prizzi’s Honor with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner. The recent remake of The Manchurian Candidate with Denzel Washington was, for me, a big disappointment, particularly when compared to the wonderful original with Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey and Angela Landsbury.
Although it was never made into a movie, one of Condon,s best novels was An Infinity Of Mirrors. The action of the story takes place between 1932 and 1944 in Paris and Berlin where a beautiful young French Jewish girl and a Prussian officer meet and fall in love. They marry and move to Berlin just as Hitler is rising to power and their tragic story begins to unfold.
Richard Condon died in Dallas in 1996. Many people consider Thomas Pynchon to be the natural successor of Condon's trailblazing style.

92 Comments:

Blogger Bazza said...

There are two interesting asides about Condon's novels. One is that there was, in every one of his books, a character named Frank Heller. Not the same person, just the same name. This character could be a major part of the story or, more ususally, a background character fleetingly glimpsed. In An Infinity Of Mirrors he was Franz Heller.
The second thing I want to talk about are the quotes before the title page of each of his books. For example in A Talent For Loving there is this inscription:
"The riches I bring you,
Crowded and shoving,
Are the envy of Princes:
A talent for loving."
The Keeners Manual
It was not until the birth of the internet that I learned, after much searching, that The Keeners Manual does not exist. Condon invented it and all of the quotes therein. I hearby apologise to all of those librarians who valiantly tried to source it for me!

Sunday, September 24, 2006  
Anonymous Frank Heller said...

Hi!

Sunday, September 24, 2006  
Blogger Bazza said...

Hello Frank!

Sunday, September 24, 2006  
Blogger Raj said...

Hi Mr. Bazza, well I do not know much abt the author and the movies. But I remember sometime back the movie "The Manchurian Candidate" was coming in some movie channel. I don't know whether its the old one or new one, but next time i'll try to watch it.Take care.

Sunday, September 24, 2006  
Blogger Bazza said...

Hello Raj, hope you are well. (I like the new layout of your blog).
The original 'Manchurian Candidate' movie was in black and white and made in 1959; the re-make was released in 2004 and, to my mind, is far inferior because the original is true to the story in the book and, above all, it's a great story.

Sunday, September 24, 2006  
Blogger Rob said...

You have wide interests. With luck some of it will rub off on us all.

Monday, September 25, 2006  
Blogger Bazza said...

Funnily enough, Rob, I was thinking that my range may be too narrow. I appreciate the encouragement from a brilliant blogger. Go there people - there's a link in my sidebar, it's called Mmmm...

Monday, September 25, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

For the most part, I’ve been disappointed with most contemporary remakes of the classic films of the 40’s through the 60’s. They just can’t resist filling cars full of napalm and rocketing them 20 feet into the air.

Monday, September 25, 2006  
Blogger serenity said...

I also haven't read Richard Condon, but loved the first movie The Manchurian Candidate. And I agree with Rob, bazza...your wide interests inspire me to expand my own explorations and interests. And you are right about that blog called Mmmm. Seems to me I've been around there before.

Peace, joy and love flowing to you, bazza, and to all of your wonderful blog visitors. All of you contribute so much to my growth and my love of learning and reaching and being challenged. I am so grateful for your patience and gracious welcome.

Monday, September 25, 2006  
Blogger Bazza said...

slaghammer: That's too true Slaghammer. Obviously remakes exist for commercial reasons but it's so disappointing to see a loved movie reduced to a pale imitation of the original. I agree about the gratuitous car bombs etc. It reflects how Hollywood percieve their typical audience: average age of 17! ps: make sure you see my Tuesday post!

serenity: What a never-ending source of joy you are! I wish I could bottle whatever it is that keeps you so 'up' and take a big swallow of it every morning! Also I'd like you to see my Tuesday post!

Monday, September 25, 2006  
Blogger jim said...

I liked the first movie, haven't seen the last, won't bother.

I agree with Rob and Serenity, fine blog with wide range, excellent publisher.

Condon is a winner.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006  
Anonymous Joey said...

Your blog is so good, thats the reason I don't blog. Mine would look stupid next to yours. Condon is great and I agree with all the other comments. Well done on Best Blog of The Day.

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jim: good to hear from you again.

joey: If your are serious, and I'm not convinced that you are, just go for it! I started by writing to myself about things I liked, I had no idea where I was going with it. All of the commentators on my blog have wonderful blogs of their own, which , after a while come to resemble the character of the blogger and so will yours. You can't go wrong!

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