Cinema: Pounding the Humdrum

An American Dream. It is no mean achievement to have made the next-to-worst novel Norman Mailer ever wrote into a movie even more embarrassing than the book. Much more embarrassing, in fact. Mailer's novel was an ardent-arrant attempt to reset Crime and Punishment in contemporary America, substituting for Raskolnikov a sort of Supernorman. Censoring both the author's ideas and his scatological eloquence, the film script turns the story into a cliche-stocked, ho-humdrum thriller about a TV star (Stuart Whitman) who murders his rich-bitch wife (Eleanor Parker) in Reel Two, and for the next 80 minutes is dogged doomward by the police...

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