Cinema: Low Corpuscle Count

Youngblood Hawke pays excessive respect to the antic Hollywood tradition of turning bad novels into worse movies. Herman Wouk's 1962 bestseller about a young novelist's spectacular career seemed to be written with one eye on Thomas Wolfe and one eye on an eventual film sale, but this foresighted assist did not save the movie from ineptitude.

Wouk described his hero as a cigar-smoking Kentucky coal trucker, huge, thick-featured and rustic, "a hulking sloven of twenty-six who had written an ugly bellowing dinosaur of a novel." In the slender person of James Franciscus, schoolteacher star...

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