April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Author Kurt Vonnegut passed away last night in his Mannhattan home, at the age of 84. There is a very nice obit over at the New York Times. I have always admired Vonnegut from a distance. His novel Slaughterhouse-Five has been on my list of books to read, for quite a while. Over the years, I have read a lot about his work, but unfortunately I haven't yet gotten around to reading any of it. However, I've been fortunate enough to have seen George Roy Hill's film Slaughterhouse-Five, which is certainly one of the very best literary adaptations to grace the screen. It is lamentable that a film as good as this, adapted from a novel considered to be unadaptable, should be so forgotten. Of the film, Vonnegut himself said:
"I love George Roy Hill and Universal Pictures, who made a flawless translation of my novel Slaughterhouse-Five to the silver screen.
I drool and cackle every time I watch that film, because it is so harmonious with what I felt when I wrote the book." (Wikipedia)
The film won the Prix du Jury at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival. In honor of Kurt Vonnegut, I suggest you seek out Slaughterhouse-Five and prepare yourself for a structurally complex, densely imaginative experience. The film is available on DVD, and in very nice 16:9 widescreen transfer. Now I've gotta go dust off my copy of the novel.

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