On the way to the bank is the best time to cry

Alf isn’t a great one for movies, but not just because there is a dearth of cinemas in Eketahuna. Rather, it’s because there are better things to do and the best place to do these better things is down at the club.

Because he’s only an occasional movie-goer, he may be accused of being ill-fitted to comment on the fuss over The Vintner’s Luck. But bugger it. He will comment anyway.

On the strength of his newspaper reading, fair to say, he won’t bother going to the movie, even though it’s directed by Niki Caro and people tell him she made Whale Rider which everybody except him went to see.


His urge to blog on the matter was triggered by news that –

Author Elizabeth Knox’s sister has waded into the row over the film adaptation of The Vintner’s Luck, saying the glossing over of a gay relationship was a case of “bad politics”.

Sara Knox, an academic and writer, said she had refused to see the film and shared her sister’s sense of “betrayal” over its treatment.

The Dom-Post goes on to bring this woman’s sexual inclinations into considerations.

Sara Knox, who is gay, said yesterday that she was upset at the decision to remove the relationship in the film.

“The reason I haven’t seen it is because I already feel like the film is a betrayal. I feel that personally, partly because I’m Elizabeth’s sister, but the book was gay romance.

“If you take that out … all of the conflict and drama is evacuated. It leaves nothing,” Dr Knox said. “It’s bad politics and I don’t like it.

“There isn’t enough fine literature written about great varieties of different kinds of love, that’s what [The Vintner’s Luck] did. It could have been an opportunity for a film to add to the human experience of joy and love, but no.”

Alf is tempted to think it’s a bloody good thing the film-maker has glossed over a gay relationship.

It’s fair to suppose one of the aims is to make a buck or two from the venture, after all.

And let’s face it. If we did have a cinema in Eketahuna, films about poofters probably would draw a zero audience.

This is especially so if one of the poofters is an angel, which pushes matters into the domain of the preposterous.

But here’s the bit that puzzles this crusty old blogger .

Elizabeth Knox told The Dominion Post this week she had cried for days when she found her novel’s central relationship – a gay romance between French peasant winemaker, Sobran Jodeau, and an angel, Xas, – had been played down in the movie by Kiwi film-maker Niki Caro.

Question: did she not get paid for the film rights to her book?

More important, what did she expect would happen when she sold the film rights (which presumably she did, or otherwise the lawyers would have become involved already).?

Did none of her mates warn her that film-makers are renowned – if not notorious – for being cavalier with the books on which they base their screen-plays?

Alf remembers going to Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park . He found it bore no resemblance to the book (but it wasn’t a bad movie).

Mind you, the author of The Lost World – a bloke called Michael Crichton – wrote books which have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. Many have been adapted into films.

In 1994, Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at #1 in television, film, and book sales (with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure, respectively).

Betcha the only crying he ever did was all the way to the bank.

So maybe Elizabeth Knox is not getting rich. But she should get real.

One Response to On the way to the bank is the best time to cry

  1. sammy says:

    Maybe Knox is feeling responsibility to the fans of her novel. On the radio she said some appreciative things about the film. AND she said that if she had known Caro was going to take main story of the book out of the film she would have argued for it. She said she would have liked to have a heads up. That seems reasonable. And a film that is so unrepresentative of the book can damage the book surely? And isn’t Knox is writing a trilogy of books about Xas of which The Vintners Luck is only number 1? That is a project she has got to care about.
    Plus I think it is not fair to say that Knox’s sister ‘waded in’. The Dompost likely rang HER. AND the Dompost decided to put the first interview on the frontpage. I bet Knox has never been on the frontpage before!

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