Mickey Spillane’s Violent Crusade from Pages to Screen



Rok publikování 2013
Druh Konferenční abstrakty
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The American hard-boiled detective fiction differs from the Classic British 'whodunit' primarily in a frequent use and realistic description of violence. However, violence does not exist only in crime fiction but also in literature as such, painting, theater, in all arts. Cinema, most likely, presents violence in the most vivid terms. Therefore, this article focuses on element of violence and its transformation from page to screen. The 'sample' for the analysis comprises of Mickey Spillane's hard-boiled detective fiction featuring the private detective Mike Hammer, novels I, the Jury (1947), My Gun Is Quick (1950), and Kiss Me, Deadly (1952) which were turned into quintessential films noir of the 1950s – I, the Jury (1955), Kiss Me, Deadly (1955), and My Gun Is Quick (1957). Spillane's fiction, scorned by critics, is regarded as overly violent, sadistic, and misogynistic – nothing like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler or Ross Macdonald's. The hero, Mike Hammer, is the avenger who is 'cleansing' the society, or righting the wrong in his own way – 'eye for an eye'. He never doubts that his killing of the criminal represents the rightful punishment, thus the violence in Spillane's novels is omnipresent and described very graphically. I will be analyzing how the Hollywood filmmakers adapted and designed the screen violence presented in Spillane's novels being constrained by the restrictions of the Motion Picture Production Code (in force from 1930 to 1968). And simultaneously I will be applying a social history approach – examining film violence in relation to historical events and social climate distinctive for the America's 1950s. I am going to ascertain how and why certain violent acts presented on the pages of Mickey Spillane's fiction were either completely left out or altered in chosen films noir.
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