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 [F] 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 Maigret?

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Paul Bergin - 12:44pm Jun 6, 1998 PST(#33 of 128)

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.

Paul Bergin - 08:11pm Jun 13, 1998 PST(#34 of 128)

I erred above. It's INSPECTOR Cramer, of course, not Lt. The Lt. was Rowcliff.

Stuart Hall - 03:27pm Jul 13, 1998 PST(#35 of 128)
Actor, budding mystery writer, community activist...

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?

Carla Firey - 02:32pm Jul 14, 1998 PST(#36 of 128)

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.


Paul Watson - 11:09am Jul 23, 1998 PST(#37 of 128)

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 . . .

Stuart Hall - 12:52am Jul 24, 1998 PST(#38 of 128)
Actor, budding mystery writer, community activist...

Hi, Paul...I think Bruce Willis would make a fine Archie...depending upon which Bruce showed up for the role. The guy who charmed millions in "Moonlighting" would be perfect. The guy who became a walking cliche in "Die Hard" would probably be poisoned by Fritz at Wolfe's (impassioned) suggestion.

Marsha Francis - 04:02pm Jul 26, 1998 PST(#39 of 128)

The idea of Bruce Willis as Archie makes me gag. Rex Stout never wrote anything with Die Hard in the title, and that's ALL Brucie is good for!! I don't know who could be Archie. It should be someone reasonably good-looking, and very intelligent (Bruce is eliminated on both counts.)

Unfortunately, the perfect Nero is dead - Jackie Gleason. Watch him in his serious movies, and you'll see what I mean.

The perfect Saul Panzer would be Jamie Farr, nose and all.

Dorothy A. Baker-Mill - 07:39am Aug 3, 1998 PST(#40 of 128)

I agree that Jackie Gleason would have been a perfect Nero Wolfe. What about Martin Short for Fritz?

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