Friday, April 17, 2009


Charles Willeford was a decent novelist and story teller. His talent/skill/whatever grew over time and with practice, and in his sixties he hit his stride with a brief series of crime novels featuring Miami police detective sergeant Hoke Mosely.

Three of Willieford's novels were made into movies, including the first Hoke Mosely, titled "Miami Blues," released in 1990. Leading up to that production, Willeford was beginning to be recognized by movie and television entities as a potent creator of stories and scripts for both feature films and television. Unfortunately, a heart attack took him out of the running in 1988, two years before Miami Blues was released. To date, only the ineptly underproduced "The Woman Chaser," a sort of feeble Jim Thompson knock off, has reached production.

I had wanted to be the first filmmaker to bring a Hoke Mosely story to the screen. I had read all of Willeford's novels and short stories and had seen the screen potential in Miami Blues and the second in the series, "New Hope for the Dead," but I was totally blown away by the third installment, "Sideswipe." I thought to pursue an option, but when Fred Ward announced his production of Miami Blues I knew that Hoke Mosely would be out of my reach, since all dramatic rights would have been included in any production deal.

Sideswipe is a character/crime novel which is the equal of all of the best of the 20th Century. And I'm talking Hammett, Chandler, Thompson, Cain, Woolrich, Highsmith and whoever. This also means that Sideswipe is the very best, unequalled crime novel of the last sixty years.

But can it make a good film? I really don't know. But I'm tempted to try again. I wonder who owns it now.


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