Donald E. Westlake  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Donald Edwin Westlake (12 July 1933 in Brooklyn, New York - 31 December 2008 in Mexico) was an American writer, with over a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit. He specialized in hardboiled-inspired crime fiction, especially comic capers with an occasional foray into science fiction. He created the psychopathic fictional character Parker. Outside of the world of literature he is perhaps best-known for the film adaptation of his novel The Hunter as Point Blank in 1967 with Lee Marvin, and for Jean-Luc Godard's Made in USA (1966) which was an extremely loose adaptation of "The Jugger." Neither the film's producer nor Godard purchased the rights to the novel, so Westlake successfully sued to prevent the film's commercial distribution in the United States. Westlake was himself a screenwriter. His script for the 1990 film The Grifters, adapted from the novel by Jim Thompson, was nominated for an Academy Award. (Westlake the screenwriter adapted Jim Thompson's work in a straightforward manner, but Westlake the humourist satirized Thompson later that year in the Dortmunder novel Drowned Hopes, which features a character named "Tom Jimson" who is hard-boiled to the point of absurdity.)

Motion pictures

Several of Westlake's novels have been made into motion pictures, including Point Blank in 1967 with Lee Marvin, The Hot Rock in 1972 with Robert Redford, Cops and Robbers (1973), The Outfit with Robert Duvall (1973), Bank Shot (1974) with George C. Scott, Why Me? (1990), Payback (1999), a second film made from the first Parker novel, with Mel Gibson, and What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) with Martin Lawrence. Costa-Gavras adapted The Ax for the European screen in 2005, to great critical and public acclaim. Entitled Le Couperet, the film takes place in France and Belgium rather than the novel's setting of New England.

The novel Jimmy the Kid has been adapted three times: in Italy as Come ti rapisco il pupo (1976), in the U.S. as Jimmy the Kid (1983), and in Germany as Jimmy the Kid (1999).

Jean-Luc Godard's Made in USA (1966) was an extremely loose adaptation of "The Jugger." Neither the film's producer nor Godard purchased the rights to the novel, so Westlake successfully sued to prevent the film's commercial distribution in the United States.

Westlake was himself a screenwriter. His script for the 1990 film The Grifters, adapted from the novel by Jim Thompson, was nominated for an Academy Award. (Westlake the screenwriter adapted Jim Thompson's work in a straightforward manner, but Westlake the humourist satirized Thompson later that year in the Dortmunder novel Drowned Hopes, which features a character named "Tom Jimson" who is hard-boiled to the point of absurdity.) Westlake also wrote the original screenplay The Stepfather, the film of which was sufficiently popular to receive two sequels and a forthcoming remake (projects in which Westlake was not involved).

Westlake also wrote a treatment for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, which was adapted later by several screenwriters. How much of Westlake's story ended up in the screenplay is unknown.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Donald E. Westlake" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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