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
(34 previous messages)
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 . . .
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.
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.
I agree that Jackie Gleason would have been a perfect Nero Wolfe. What about Martin Short for Fritz?
Hey, Stuart --
Bruce Willis's "Moonlighting" character was exactly what I had in mind! His David had some Archie-like qualities (for instance, nagging Maddie into taking a given case recalls Archie prodding Wolfe to do some work). He's a much better actor than some give him credit for -- see his work in _Pulp Fiction_. No, not _Die Hard_ style . . . but recall the action scenes in the garage in _The Golden Spiders_.
Nero Wolfe is a true thinking man's detective with a penchant for staying out of the fray. Bruce could be a good Archie, I have enjoyed his acting for years. The best Wolfe would have to be Orson Wells. The TV series, or maybe it was just a movie, proved this, and Lee Horsley (TV's Matt Houston) played Archie, and did a fine job. All in allm, I think Wolfe is best left to the page, he is an enjoyable read, but not very interesting to watch on the whole.
Mystery Net Community Mystery Greats Nero Wolfe