Mystery Net Community Mystery Greats Nero Wolfe
We're curious if any other mystery buffs are addicted to Rex Stout.
Is Wolfe truly an olympus of detection - compared with say, Poirot or
(30 previous messages)
hellerfan, Robert Goldsborough has resurrected Wolfe & Archie, et. al., in recent years with The Last Coincidence, The Bloodied Ivy, The Missing Chapter, Death on Deadline, Murder in E Minor, and Fade to Black. He writes in cooperation with the Rex Stout estate. The settings are somewhat updated -- but not too much. And apparently the characters are ageless -- we know they are timeless.
Stout kept his characters ageless in contempory settings. Goldsborough keeps up this tradition. I've read all his books. But his stories aren't as easy to get into as Stout's. As someone mentioned in an earlier message, you find yourself saying, "Arhcie wouldn't have done that," or "Wolfe wouldn't have said that." Nevertheless, it's been a while since a new one has been written, and I crave more Wolfe! I think there's a Woody Allen joke in this message somewhere.
My own picks for screen version of the Wolfe menangerie (every fan of Wolfe seems to play this game) are as follows:
Wolfe: Victor Buono (he's dead, of course, but he would've been great in the role)
Archie: Dennis Quaide (spelling of last name may be incorrect)
Lt. Cramer: Robert Loggia
Saul Panzer: Harry Dean Stanton
Lily: Ellen Barkin
I have no nominees for Fritz or Theodore.
Fans of Lt. Cramer may not be aware that Stout once gave him his own novel -- Red Threads -- in which Cramer shows himself quite capable of solving a complicated crime without Wolfe's help. Similarly, Dol Bonner and Sally Colt, female PIs who appeared in the Wolfe stories got their own book titled The Hand in the Glove. Not as good as Red Threads, but interesting, nonetheless.
I erred above. It's INSPECTOR Cramer, of course, not Lt. The Lt. was Rowcliff.
Lessee, now...if I were casting Nero Wolfe on the silver screen, who would I choose? You know, I can't think of one actor extant who could do the role justice...although, come to think of it, Brando is intriguing, if he could (would?) sublimate his own considerable ego into that of Wolfe. A couple of folks possess a few of the qualities...for example, John Houseman's persona is just haughty and intelligent enough, but lacks the girth. James Earl Jones is regal and powerful enough, but would probably lend too much gratuitious symbolism to Wolfe's Montenegran ancestry. But, who else? I always thought Thayer David, the stage and soap stalwart, would make a good Wolfe, but I understand he bombed in a television attempt in the mid-70s. John Goodman? Too young; in fact, too much more like a 300-lb Archie wannabe (might be good for Fred Durkin, though, eh?) Wilfred Brimley? Can you say Uncle Nero? Ed Asner? Not aristocratic or elephantine enough. Anyone got any other ideas?
Hi, all... I'm new to this and just thought I'd drop my two cents in. From some earlier posts regarding Wolfe's lineage, I'd like to suggest John T. Lescroat's "Son of Holmes." It never actually states that the title character is Wolfe, but the similarities are remarkable. Also a piece of info, I read somewhere that in the name Nero Wolfe, Stout purposely chose the same vowels in the same order as Sherlock Holmes.
As to actors to play Wolfe characters, I'm afraid that all of today's actors would fall short when playing the role of Nero Wolfe. Moreoever, I doubt anyone could be an acceptable Archie. Archie's quick wit is effective only when written. Harvey Keitel, however, might make an interesting Saul.
I discovered Wolfe & Archie when I was about 12. My mother had tried to get me to read _The Second Confession_ a year or two before, but I just wasn't ready. To this day I quote things from the stories and reread them for the flavor and the pacing. Stout was a master of making a scene _move_, even if the only thing occurring is conversation.
My opinion of the 1977 Australian TV-movie, which was was based on _The Doorbell Rang_, was that it was far too talky and poorly cast. Thayer David was all right, I suppose, but Tom Mason was awful as Archie (we see him striding around NY in a British driving cap, for example). Unlike most of the posters here, I loved William Conrad as Wolfe -- I claim the distinction of having picked him as the perfect Wolfe for voice and girth years before "Cannon".
Archie? I may be pilloried for this suggestion -- but how about . . . Bruce Willis?? Yeah, I know, his accent is all wrong (Archie was from Ohio, not Brooklyn). But he is the only actor I can imagine carrying off some of the Archie lines (Girl: "You like yourself, don't you?" Archie: "Certainly. I side with the majority"). He is also energetic and rugged enough for those rare action scenes, and I can just see him annoying Wolfe (Archie to Wolfe about Archie's upcoming [and fake] marriage: "The bride has no one to give her away, so you'll have to give me away").
Just think about it before you scream . . .
Mystery Net Community Mystery Greats Nero Wolfe