The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout
While not my favorite John Wayne movie, The Shootist has always ranked in the top 5. Needless to say I had seen it numerous times on T.V. But only when I recently acquired a DVD of the movie and saw the feature regarding the making of the movie, did I realize that it was based on a novel. Yes it does say that in the credits at the beginning, but I never have been one to pay attention to those past the naming of the actors.
Fortunately for me, I found a copy of the original novel. It is hard to write a review of a novel that has been made into a movie, even harder when that movie is more well known than the original novel. Comparisons between the novel and the more well-known movie, which will have incoporated and adapted the original text to suit its own purposes, is inevitable.
What jumped out at me more than anything else was the character of Gillom Rogers, the character than Ron Howard played in the movie. The text character is much more pugnacious and harder-edged than what appears on the screen in the performance of Howard. I imagine a lot of this had to do with Howard's image, coming from his Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham background than anything having to do with wanting to tone down the character for the purposes of the movie itself.
Other than that, there's not much entirely different here. Most of the action takes place in exactly the same form as was presented as a movie. And it was entertaining to break from my usual fare to read something more classic in the western genre, something I don't do as much these days.
I give this one 8 stars.