Thursday, May 20, 2010
Almost thirty years later, I still have no idea why this book was assigned reading. It was a sleazy, trashy, psychological thriller. Sub Stephen King in the literary department. Today, the book is out of print and there is only a single one star review on Amazon, calling it a "bizarrely lazy thriller".
The class didn't get much out of the discussion, and I forgot about it over the years. The story had something to do with a woman getting phone calls from her nephew, who had been dead for 15 years (and I had to read some of the online reviews to even remember that). I remember the ending being ridiculous, involving hypnosis or something.
There was one thing I remember about the film, it was made into a 1972 TV movie. We watched part of it in class, on those big oversized pre-VHS school videotape machines. We only saw the first part as the second part had been taped over. It was no loss.
A pre-stardom Michael Douglas starred along with Elizabeth Ashley and Ben Gazzara. Director Philip Leacock had a long career in television. He worked on episodes of GUNSMOKE, FANTASY ISLAND, THE PAPER CHASE, EIGHT IS ENOUGH, FAMILY and more. He also directed a very good 1980 TV movie ANGEL CITY with an early performance by Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The film was adapted by James Bridges who would the next year adapt and direct the film version of THE PAPER CHASE and go on to make THE CHINA SYNDROME, URBAN COWBOY, MIKE'S MURDER and BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY.
Because of Douglas, the film, which is often retitled SHATTERED SILENCE, was issued on VHS and DVD. It appears to now be out of print, which is no big loss. I also remember it airing on A&E in the late 80's and early 90's. I never cared enough to see the rest.
Considering all the authors that we never read in school, why we even bothered with this book, I will never know.