Westlake Score: Nobody’s Perfect

NB: This post also appears at Existential Ennui.

This next Westlake Score is again a 1970s British Hodder & Stoughton first edition of a Donald E. Westlake crime caper, again bearing a Mark Wilkinson-designed dust jacket, which I’ve again added to the Existential Ennui British Thriller Book Cover Design of the […]

Review: Killy, by Donald E. Westlake (1963)

(NB: A version of this post also appears on Existential Ennui.)

Slight change of plan here: I had intended to post a Westlake Score this week, but I’ve decided to hold off on that for the moment—partly because on a whim I actually started reading the Westlake Score in question, and so I […]

Not Quite Parker review: The Hunted–The Dame (#2) by Dave Zeltserman

You get some things right, you get some things wrong.

In my review of The Hunted, the first volume of Dave Zeltserman’s new series of the same name, I wrote:

“I got the impression that Zeltserman just wanted to get the origin story out of the way so that he could get on […]

Trailer and title sequence for Jimmy the Kid, plus “Keep Your Paws Off My Dog”

Jimmy the Kid, as I’m sure you know, was the Dortmunder novel that used a nonexistent Parker book (Child Heist) to launch its plot.

It’s been filmed three times. The other two versions are foreign, and, so far as I know, unseeable in the US. They may be unseeable anywhere at this point. […]

1994 Westlake TV interview

Donald Westlake’s son Paul dropped this in the comments, but it’s worthy of a post of its own.

I’ll let Paul tell you about it (slightly edited–you can read the original thread here).

It’s from 1994 but I don’t have any more info. The only thing I remember that was written […]

Review: The Hot Rock by Donald Westlake

The Hot Rock began life as an attempt at a Parker novel:

One day in 1967 I was wearing my Richard Stark hat, looking for a story to tell about my man Parker, and I thought, he reacts badly to frustration, what if he had to steal the same thing four […]

A third film version of Jimmy the Kid?

In the early days of this site (2000), I had a couple of brief exchanges with Donald Westlake. One of them went like this (excerpted from longer e-mails):

DEW: What do you mean, two movies of JIMMY THE KID? If I knew how to ubderline [sic] on this despicable machine, I would underline ‘two’. Pretend I did.

TAR: According to the Internet Movie Database, there is the Gary Coleman version and a 1999 German version.  If their information is up-to-date, it hasn’t gone into general release yet, it’s just doing the film festival circuit. I managed to find some stills from it somewhere–they are on my site if you dig deep enough. Does this mean they didn’t pay you?

DEW: Yes! They paid me in 96, and I haven’t thought a thing about it since. I’ll look for the stills.

Knowing that Mr. Westlake thought the German version was the second one, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered yesterday that there appears to be a third film version of Jimmy the Kid, which would actually be the first adaptation. It was a 1976 Italian take.

I can understand that by 1996, with dozens of titles under his belt, Westlake was far beyond caring about the details of selling film rights for one book or another. But did he forget about a film made from one of his books in 1976, only sixteen years after his first success? I find that hard to believe. My guess is he didn’t know this film was made. I would also venture a guess that he didn’t get paid for it.

I stumbled across the existence of Come ti rapisco il pupo while looking up Dortmunder in Wikipedia. That might not sound like great detective work, but no one has mentioned this to me in the eleven years that this site has existed in one form or another. A Google search yields Wikipedia, IMDB, and nothing else in English. The IMDB entry is scant–it credits Westlake but makes no reference to the work the film is based on. Is it Jimmy the Kid? Despite the poster looking more like a Tatum O’Neal flick than a comic crime caper, I think it is.

My investigation revealed that the movie happens to share a title with the Italian translation of Jimmy the Kid. (Judging by this cover art, Italians think Dortmunder is a total badass.)

I also tracked down some stills, which are below the fold. They also fit the profile.

I think we have a match.

If anyone can get me a copy of Come ti rapisco il pupo in any format, I may be able to (legally) get us an English-subtitled version. Let me know.

(And if anyone can translate the title Come ti rapisco il pupo for me, please do. The Internet translators ain’t cuttin’ it.)

Continue reading A third film version of Jimmy the Kid?

The Hot Rock comes to comics

Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, was responsible for one of the best books of 2009 in Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Parker: The Hunter. The Hot Rock, first published by Casterman in France in 2008, is the darkly comic flipside to Parker; a story of a bungling con and an increasingly […]

A Look Back at Westlake’s Career

TrickCoin.net has a retrospective on Donald Westlake’s long career.  It’s not always kind–the author doesn’t much care for the later Dortmunders, for example (which I have not yet read).  But it is good and interesting reading, whether or not you entirely agree.

He does like the second series of Parker […]