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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

December 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Books that aren’t movies — yet

You know that feeling of when you’re reading a book and you can completely see it as a movie? You can imagine the casting and hear the score and picture the lighting, and it all seems as if it would work perfectly. I had just that experience over the weekend, reading Patricia Highsmith’s “Deep Water.” It’s a novel written in the late ’50s, but feels utterly contemporary: about a loveless suburban marriage, a recklessly unfaithful wife, and a man who wonders what it would be like to be capable of murder — and eventually finds himself wondering no longer. (I read it wondering if she deliberately chose to include no details that placed the story in a particular time; other than a few moments where I wondered, before remembering, why a character didn’t pick up a cellphone, it gives no indication that it takes place in an earlier era.) Highsmith, best known for her novels “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (made into a swell movie a decade or so ago, and the inspiration for several other films) and “Strangers on a Train” (made into a classic Hitchcock thriller in the early ’50s), wrote numerous novels and short stories over several decades; all demonstrating her trademark icy, reserved suspense. (The plots creep up on you, like a thief in the dark.) . Many of them have been made into TV thrillers or movies, to this day (IMDb says that “Carol,” based on Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt” and starring Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska, will begin production early next year). But I don’t think “Deep Water” has ever made it to the screen, from what I can tell, and I can’t imagine why not. Any producers reading this? I’m thinking, hmm, maybe Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kate Winslet in the leads?
Read anything lately that would make a great movie? Let the rest of us know.

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