another holy grail found


I read this book in 1970 when it was new. I was 14. I can't remember how I crossed paths with it, but I know I did not buy it. As you can see "Soon to be a major motion picture" is emblazoned across the top of the cover.

It's a good story. It's not terribly well-written, mainly due to the annoying dialog. The authors were struggling to capture "the voice of the child". And the kids are brats. Even at 14, I realized that. But I also realized that in the hands of a good film-maker like Hitchcock or the Coen Brothers, it could be a really good movie.

So I waited and waited. I really wanted to see that movie! But just like issue #2 of Wham-O Giant Comics, another thing I waited and waited for, it never came.

The book disappeared, but I thought of it from time to time over the years. A couple of years ago I started googling for it. I wanted to read it again, to see if it was as good as I recall. I kept getting tripped up by this Italian movie and this book which is a totally different thing with the same title.

I finally found it.

I had forgotten how much I loved that cover art!

The novel is about as good as I remember it. Maybe a little worse in my opinion, now that I am a jaded 50-something. But I still think it could be turned into a very good movie. Sadly, it appears that it was not.

I have discovered that eight years after it was declared "soon to be a major motion picture" it came out in France. The trailer looks slow and ponderous and dreadful.

Has anybody ever read this book, or seen this movie?

6 comments:

Janet said...

As a kid, I probably woulda liked that book...but, you're right...the movie looks horrible!

Jed said...

The cover art is awesome! It looks like Eric White! I wonder who the artist is.

So what about this Wham-O Giant Comics? Did you have THAT too? Now that you've introduced me to it, I lust after it. I found an $80 copy on e-bay. Lou Fine and Wally Wood art, enormous! Must. Have. Wham-O. Giant. Comics.

Jed said...

$80 is too much though. I don't want it $80 much.

Mark Martin said...

I have Wham-O Giant Comics. It's awesome. But I would not pay $80 for it. I'd pay... oh, maybe $30. If I had to.

The cover artist that reminds you of Eric White (you're right, he does!) is Marvin Hayes.

Janet, you'd like the book. I may mail it to you.

HemlockMan said...

I vaguely recall Wham-O Giant Comics. Seems my dad would often toss them aside when offered to him because he couldn't figure out how to display them on the shelves.

The books looks interesting...especially since you posted the cover. I've found many a book from my childhood on amazon. It's a great source for that kind of thing--the Homer Price books, Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek, Jim Kjelgaard's novels, etc.

SRBissette said...

SHY STEGOSAURUS! I've long searched for those childhood favorites; found THE SHY STEGOSAURUS and its sequel long ago, and they (like THE ENORMOUS EGG) lived up to the memories I had of them.

THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING was indeed seen by this hungry movie addict, and I remember liking it, though the far creepier DEVIL TIMES FIVE beat it in the 'homicidal kids on the loose' sweepstakes. Neither film, though, would please you, Mark. They're mighty grotty, if you know what I mean.