Branagh WALLANDER BBC TV series vs WALLANDER Canal!!

wallanderbbc


My first introduction to Henning Mankell’s detective Kurt Wallander is with the Kenneth Branagh helmed WALLANDER BBC series. I found those shows visually striking and emotionally intense. Only recently have I likewise become introduced to the earlier Swedish series starring Krister Henriksson (earliest episodes dating from 2006, with the latest episodes being in 2013).

There is a degree of fatalism and nihilism in the more slick and stylish BBC reworking of WALLANDER that is absent from the earlier Swedish television series. And I feel that that absence is to the earlier show’s benefit.

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While the Swedish series is no less a captive and mirror of the forlorn land it depicts, there is in the original series and in the captivating and world wearied yet bemused performance by Krister Henriksson a welcome sense of hope, of optimism even in the face of those who have forsworn hope. As such, despite or because of its understated nature, there is something more endearing in the Swedish WALLANDER, something easier worn.

Whereas the BBC version of Wallander is a different animal all-together. First its scale is far grandeur than the Swedish version, essentially each season comprised of three feature length movies, with approximately two years between seasons; 2008, 2010, and 2012 respectively.

Add to that Branagh’s wonderful portrayal of a man ever more broken is superlative. However that degree of depression can be taxing to view. To the BBC WALLANDER’s credit it is a distinct and different take from the Swedish version they were going for and achieved, so it can be viewed as its own thing rather than simply a remake.

wallandercanal2

All that to say you can watch the original series and the BBC series and see two distinct and divergent shows, each deserving of your time. But if pressed regarding the version of Wallander that I enjoy the most, I would have to choose the Krister Henriksson series.

While the BBC version has amazing direction and cinematography, powerhouse acting by its lead Kenneth Branagh, and a wonderful score and introduction (reminiscent of the equally compelling LUTHOR), thematically I prefer the less angst ridden and less dire Swedish version. Its low-key delivery making for less hyperbolic viewing.

Grade: WALLANDER BBC series gets a grade of B/B+, and the CANAL Swedish version edges it out with a solid grade of B+.

Wallander Season 1 & 2 [Blu-ray] (This item requires a 1080i compatible player)

Wallander Series 3 [Blu-ray]

Wallander (Faceless Killers / The Man Who Smiled / The Fifth Woman) [Blu-ray]

Wallander Series 3 [Blu-ray]

Wallander: The Original Episodes, Set 1

Next up I’ll sample the Rolf Lassgard WALLANDER episodes and bring you my take on those.

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Classic SPICY DETECTIVE Covers!!

As any casual visitor to this blog knows I’m a huge pulp fiction fan, so I’m always on the lookout for vintage or new age pulp covers that grab me. Under the heading risque Vintage Pulp Fiction covers comes the following selection of classic, caustic, and even calamitous covers from the defunct but rightly named SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES.

Take a gander and enjoy!

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And if you’d actually like to read one of these stories (A Norvell Page!!) go here.

WEBSERIES of the Day: DOMINION

I watched the 1st episode and some of the Webisodes of a series called DOMINION, billed as a film Noir series, and enjoyed it.

I’m not typically a web-series type of guy, but I gave this one a shot and liked it. I’m waiting to hear back from the creators in regards to episode #2, but in the meantime view the existing episodes here.

Book and DVD of the day: CASSAVETES ON CASSAVETES and JOHNNY STACCATO

Ray Carney has written quite a few books on iconoclast, maverick actor/filmmaker John Cassavetes, and the one I’m currently reading is CASSAVETES ON CASSAVETES.

Cassavetes on Cassavetes

I am also currently watching the 1959/1960 private eye show JOHNNY STACCATO starring the inexplicable John Cassavetes. It was researching the show that led me to a mention of Carney’s CASSAVTES ON CASSAVETES.

Through the book I wanted to get a better handle on the show, why it didn’t last, and what Cassavetes thought of it.

The book covers all these bases and more. It’s an elucidating look at a gifted, driven man for whom confusion and consternation and rabble-rousing, was part of what he did. In search of truths maybe, perhaps simpler… perhaps in search of feelings.

Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes – 3 DVD Box Set!

A good book that I recommend, particularly in context of the short lived JOHNNY STACCATO, which is, failings aside and Cassavetes dislike aside, at times great, and never less than interesting.