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JAMES DICKEY
Deliverance


click to enlarge

Pan, London, 1971
(price: 50p; 240 pages)
first published in Great Britain 1970 by Hamish Hamilton

dedication: to Edward L King and Albert Braselton, companions


The blurb on the back:

'A brilliant tale of action' - The Observer
'Brilliantly achieves what it sets out to do... Breathtaking adventure' -
The New Yorker
'As good as anything in Hemingway' -
The Listener


opening lines:
It unrolled slowly, forced to show its colours, curling and snapping back whenever one of us turned loose. The whole land was very tense until we put our four steins on its corners and laid the river out to run for us through the mountains 150 miles north.


Somewhere mid-way between directing the Dave Clark Five in Catch Us If You Can and his reputation-destroying (but actually very fine) Exorcist II, John Boorman had his one universally acknowledged moment of glory with Deliverance. And it's still a pretty fine movie: its theme of city folk out of their depth in the remote wildernesses of America was - for me, at least - handled better in Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes, but there's a real sense of taut power that lingers with you. Plus, of course, there's the great Jon Voight, and the 'Duelling Banjos' soundtrack.

The screenplay was adapted by James Dickey from his own novel, and I have to say, it's an improvement on the original. Because really this is a very uninteresting book - perfectly literate and not badly written, but way, way longer than it need be: a short story, maybe a novella, would have sufficed.

I know this is supposed to be a site about books, but my recommendation is to skip this one and get the DVD out.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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