Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Films to look forward to - '30s action & '20s thriller

Over the course of the last week various news sources have reported on two films in the early stages of development that I know will be of interest to this blog's readers.

Shane Black Talks Doc Savage

First to be on the receiving end of the Hollywood treatment is a man widely regarded as one of the triumvirate of 1930s pulp fiction characters (and proto-superheroes) along with The Shadow and The Phantom - Clark Savage Jr, otherwise known as Doc Savage.  First appearing in pulp magazines from 1933 onwards, Doc Savage was perhaps one of the first typical "human" superheroes having been "trained from birth to the peak of physical ability".  Adept at martial arts, knowledgeable about earth sciences and a master of disguise with a strong desire to do good and help others, you can see why this would appeal to one of the major film studios - particularly with superhero movies like The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel doing such brisk business at the box office.  Why not get in on the action (literally!) with the granddaddy of them all?

Attached to the project as director is Shane Black, who has recently had incredible success with Iron Man 3 (which I have to sadly admit I've yet to see) and whose screenwriting credits include Lethal Weapon, Predator and The Long Kiss Goodnight.  He certainly sounds like the kind of chap who could take Doc Savage places!

More From Director Shane Black On Doc Savage

We don't want this again, Mr Black.
source - Wikipedia
This won't be the first time Doc Savage has made it to the big screen, however.  Those of you with long (and some might say masochistic!) memories may recall the 1975 film Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, starring Ron Ely in the title role.  Foreshadowing somewhat the similar reception of pulp hero films The Shadow and The Phantom twenty years later, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze is generally regarded as excruciatingly awful.  I won't even bother to dignify it with a link - I'll leave it to you to decide if you want to find out about/be reminded of it (although here's a picture)!  However with Mr Black at the helm I feel sure the new Doc Savage film will be a far, far better affair.  Already I'm liking the sound of the 1930s period setting and the "Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart action hero" slant.

Although rumours of this new film have been circulating since 2010 it is only recently that Shane Black has begun talking about it to the entertainment press, so I would not expect to see it in cinemas until well into 2014 at the earliest.  Still, something to look forward to!  Who do we think should take the role (I've already seen Daniel Craig's name mentioned)?

Keira Knightley to star in The Other Typist

The other film to look forward to is an adaptation of a recently-written novel entitled The Other Typist, the debut book of author Suzanne Rindell.  The story is set in 1920s New York, with two contrasting young women on a police precinct's typing pool befriending each other and by the sound of things getting up to all sorts of mischief in the Prohibition-era Big Apple.

Confirmed to play one of the two lead roles is Keira Knightley, but no other cast or crew details have been confirmed at this time so once again we're probably looking at a 2014 release date.  I get the impression that Miss Knightley has a polarising effect on people (particularly women - "flat/square/horse face" and "too thin" being among the comments I have heard some ladies mutter!) but I've always found her to be a decent enough actress.  I'll be interested to see who will be joining her on this project.

Quite apart from the fashion aspect of the film, for me and my fellow Typosphereans it will hopefully be an excellent chance to sate our passion for vintage typewriters with several 1920s types surely to be in evidence!  What do we think, chaps & ladies - Remingtons, Underwoods, Royals?  What would the NYPD be using in the Twenties?

The book on which this film will be based was published in Britain last month and should be, as the saying goes, available in all good bookshops.  Reviews have been positive, so we can only hope that the film will achieve as much.  Furthermore, for those of you living in the British Isles B.B.C. Radio 4 Extra has just this week started broadcasting The Other Typist as an audiobook and the first part can be heard here.  Hopefully it will give us a small idea of what to expect from the film.

What films are you looking forward to in the next 12 months - anything else interesting I've missed?


  1. HA! I love Doc Savage: Man of Bronze. It's a wonderfully camp homage to the pulp stories. The husbeast and I try to watch it whenever it's on; we've been unable to get it on DVD.

    I'm sure the new film will be very serious and earnest, but I'll still love the old one.

    1. Oh, I don't deny or begrudge the fact the Doc Savage: Man of Bronze has become a cult classic and has its fans - unfortunately I'm not one of them (although in fairness I haven't seen it for ages so perhaps it deserves a re-evaluation).

      I expect the new film will be closer to the original pulps, with lots of action and so forth, and I hope they do the 1930s justice (I can imagine something of a Captain America vibe). But I'd like to think that, in common with most modern superhero films (incl. Black's Iron Man 3) there will be a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheekery too.

  2. Interestingly, the same said of Ms. Knightly has been said of Benedict Cumberbatch. Re: Doc Savage cover - certainly Brendan Fraser could have been the model!

    1. Curious - "shark-face" is the epithet I have heard most frequently used to describe Benedict Cumberbatch by women who don't see the attraction(!).

      Brendan Fraser is a good call and I can certainly see what you mean! He's done a lot of the similar sort of thing with The Mummy films and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, though, which could be a good or bad thing depending on the way you look at it.

      At the risk of sounding all "hip" and "modern", Ryan Gosling strikes me as a decent possibility from the younger actors' stable.

  3. Oooh, The Other Typist already sounds good (based purely on your blog as I hadn't heard of it before!) - I'm not sure why some girls dislike Keira so much, she's an alright actress and isn't constantly in the papers flashing her undercrackers.. Going to have a listen later, thanks for mentioning the BBC4 audio-ness


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