Goodis serves up big, strong James Vanning as the ultimate victim of circumstances. Vanning is ex-Navy, driving to Chicago where his new dream job as a commercial artist awaits, when he rounds a bend and hits a broken down station wagon. No sooner does he come to a halt than a serious-looking fellow walks up and points a gun between his eyes. Turns out, gunslinger and his two buddies crashed their getaway car fleeing from a Seattle bank robbery. The four travel to a hotel in Denver and the robbers put Vanning in the bathroom.
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Only one source bothered to print more than a cursory obituary. I admit this was weakness. I should have taken a job digging ditches, and because I was too lazy to do that, I threw away a lot of valuable time, especially in Hollywood, although I must say I had a lot of fun in Hollywood.
There are only two changes which Truffant made from the novel. In the film it is the act of kidnapping the boy which leads to the final act of commitment. The second is that at the end of the film, there is a new waitress at the club, a surrogate for the girl killed by the gangsters. The implication of course is that the pianist may yet again be drawn into a love-relationship.
The book, like the film, bursts through the conventions of the genre. In each work since that time, even in his worst hack jobs, there are moments when his great talent struggles to break through. All of his major characters are drop-outs, either by choice or circumstance, from society. They are criminals, petty thieves, ghetto dwellers, winos, meth-freaks bums, addicts, whores. Whether they live in San Francisco, New York, Kingston, or as must often they do in Philadelphia, Goodis pays strict attention to topography.
He roots the movements of his characters in a ruthless exactitude in place. The only glimmer of hope in the lives of his characters is the possibility of love. Most often, it is left ambiguous whether or not the love affair will be consummated for more than a transient moment. Whether she will or not is problematical.
But always, Goodis asserts where comedy intrudes in moments of tragedy and disaster lurks beneath the surface in the happiest of times. Yet his novels confound classification, which is how it should be. His works gave me pleasure.
Jim goes into a bar. He agrees and she accepts his dinner invitation. The dinner conversation reveals that Marie is a model, Jim a commercial artist. They make a date for the next day.
Only one source bothered to print more than a cursory obituary. I admit this was weakness. I should have taken a job digging ditches, and because I was too lazy to do that, I threw away a lot of valuable time, especially in Hollywood, although I must say I had a lot of fun in Hollywood. There are only two changes which Truffant made from the novel.