Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Books Into Films: Announced in the Trades

Here are just a few of the many book-into-film adaptations that were announced in trade papers (Variety, Boxoffice, Hollywood Reporter) but either never got made or were produced years later with different talent in front of and behind the camera.

THE CONFIDENCE MAN (1974) -- A Roger Corman production to be directed by Jonathan Demme, from a screenplay by Demme, based on the novel by Herman Melville

CULLA AND RINTHY (1971) – Stacy Keach to write and direct, based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel Outer Dark

DEADLY EDGE (1972) – Based on the novel by Richard Stark [Donald E. Westlake], to be written by Don Peterson and directed by Peter Yates

THE DEMOLISHED MAN (1977) – Based on the novel by Alfred Bester, written and directed by Brian De Palma

DIRTY LAUNDRY(1979) – Michael Mann to direct, based on a Pete Hamill book

THE EXECUTIONER (1979) – Produced by Burt Reynolds and David Gershenson for 20th Century Fox, based on the Pinnacle action paperback series by Don Pendleton

52 PICK-UP (1975) – Based on the Elmore Leonard novel, produced by Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus, directed by Menahem Golan, starring Joe Don Baker, Trish Van Devere, George Hamilton, Bruce Davison and John Marley. "Production to begin in Israel in December 1975" (Golan & Globus produced two adaptations of this a decade later: THE AMBASSADOR (1984) -- directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Pleasence and Fabio Testi -- was shot in Israel but doesn't credit the novel, and 52 PICKUP (1986) was directed by John Frankenheimer and stars Roy Scheider, Ann-Margret, Vanity, and John Glover.)

THE FIRST DEADLY SIN (1974) – To be directed by Don Siegel, based on the novel by Lawrence Sanders (Brian Hutton directed the 1980 movie, which stars Frank Sinatra and Faye Dunaway)

THE HEADHUNTERS (1974) – Arthur Marks movie based on the Pinnacle action paperback series by Brian Boyer & John Weisman

THE HORSE IS DEAD (1978) -- Comedy based on the novel by Robert Klane, produced by Samuel W. Gelfman, directed by Ernest Pintoff

I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN (1968) – Starring Natalie Wood and directed by Sydney Pollack, from the novel by Joanne Greenberg (Kathleen Quinlan ended up starring in director Anthony Page's film, released in 1977)

LETTING GO (1965) – Based on the Philip Roth novel, to be produced by AIP and directed by Harvey Hart

LOVE'S TENDER FURY (1977) - Produced by Julie Corman, from a novel Jennifer Wilde

MOTHER HARLEM (1974) – A sequel to ACROSS 110TH STREET, but not based on a novel by Wally Ferris, to be directed by Barry Shear

THE MOVIEGOER (1978) -- A Roger Corman production starring Karen Black and Sam Waterston, based on Walker Percy's novel. Twenty years later, Avenue Pictures announced another production of this (with a screenplay by Terrence Malick), but that also never came to fruition.

NAMUGONGO (1970) – Cornel Wilde to direct, based on a book by Father A. E. Howell of the Order of the White Fathers, from a script by Clint Johnston and Don Peters

PAST ALL DISHONOR (late 1960s) – To be directed by James B. Harris, based on the novel by James M. Cain

PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW (1968) – James B. Harris signed to direct a script by William Hanley, based on the novel by Francis Pollini (The movie that was made and released in 1971 was directed by Roger Vadim, from a script by Gene Roddenberry)

SITTING PRETTY (1977) - Bill Cosby's plan to turn Al Young's novel Sitting Pretty into a feature film unfortunately never came to fruition, although Young did do uncredited rewrites on the Cosby-Poitier comedy A PIECE OF THE ACTION, also for First Artists.

STAND ON IT (1975) – Screenplay by Lukas Heller, based on the novel by Stroker Ace [William Neely & Robert K. Ottum], to be directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Burt Reynolds (Made by Hal Needham a decade later as STROKER ACE, starring Reynolds, from a script by Needham and Hugh Wilson)

VAMPIRELLA (1975-1977) - Gordon Hessler's unmade VAMPIRELLA movie was to star Barbara Leigh (JUNIOR BONNER, TERMINAL ISLAND). Ron Goulart's six Vampirella novels published by Warner Books -- Bloodstalk (#1), On Alien Wings (#2), Deadwalk (#3), Blood Wedding (#4), Deathgame (#5), and Snakegod (#6) -- all have "Soon to be a major motion picture" on their back covers.


  1. I will never not be pissed off that the Reynolds Mack Bolan thing didn't happen.

  2. Vampirella eventually did get made into a movie. Not sure if it was direct to video or not.