April 23, 2003


SYMPATHY FOR 'THE DEVIL'S': I just finished Julie Salamon's book "The Devil's Candy," the behind-the-scenes chroncile of Brian DePalma's disastrous 1991 movie version of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities." It thought it was a generally well-written and well-told, I'd still put it a notch below my favorite showbiz books: Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls," Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller's "Live From New York," and the entire William Goldman canon (most notably "Adventures in the Screen Trade.")
Also, since Wolfe's 'Bonfire' is one of my favorite fiction books, every time Salamon quoted Wolfe's great prose it made me wish I were re-reading 'Bonfire' instead. For example, here's Wolfe (as quoted on p. 259 in the Salamon book) on the phenomenon of "social X-rays"- wannabe-society women who starve themselves down in order to fit in their little cocktail dresses:

You can see lamplight through their bones... while they're chattering about interiors and landscape gardening. [They're] women in their twenties or early thirties... the second, third, and fourth wives or live-in girlfriends of men over forty or fifty or sixty (or seventy), the sort of women men refer to, quite without thinking, as girls.

Ah, Tom Wolfe. Then there's this: I already mentioned back when I ordered the book that the Amazon.com page quoted a long passage from Kirkus Reviews, written in 1991, that the story of 'Bonfire' the movie was "like watching a World Trade Center tower topple onto Wall Street." The paperback of the book, presumably still in print two years after 9/11, not only reproduces that quote on its back cover, but uses only that quote and not the rest of the paragraph. Even more eerie? Director Brian DePalma's birthday is September 11.

Posted by Stephen Silver at April 23, 2003 08:59 PM
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