Friday, December 02, 2016

FFB: Man in the Shadow -- Harry Whittington

Man in the Shadow is the novelization of a 1957 movie starring Jeff Chandler and Orson Welles.  The movie was on Encore Westerns, and I wanted to watch it, so I read the book first.  It's very good, which is no surprise, since Harry Whittington wrote it.

Not that there's anything new in the story.  It's a modern western about the big landowner who controls a small town, and if a migrant worker is murdered on his land, well, everybody would just as soon forget about it, cover it over, and go on.  Everybody except the sheriff, that is, if he's a man who believes in doing his job like Ben Sadler does.  Sadler's a man who'll keep going against whatever odds are against him to do what the law requires.

And when it comes to stacking the odds against a guy like Sadler, nobody ever did it any better than Harry Whittington.  He gives full value in this short novelization, and the brutality factor is raised to about 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.  The attitudes toward the migrants in the story are about what you'd expect for the middle 1950s, not that much different from now, I guess, except for Sadler and a local barber, who are a lot different.  It's a sad commentary that so little has changed in the last 60 years.  

The book's well worth a look if you have a copy lying around or want to pick one up on the 'net.  It follows the movie closely, and I'll be talking about the movie on Tuesday.

4 comments:

George said...

I'll have to find my copy of MAN IN THE SHADOWS. You can't go wrong with a Harry Whittington novel! I'll be looking forward to your movie review!

Todd Mason said...

Someone who always delivered value for money on tie-ins? Perhaps it could be the Whittington Prize...

Edwin McBride said...

I recently read two other Whittington film novelizations "Temptations of Valerie" and "Charro!". Both were better than the movies that they were based on, especially "Charro!". Now I'm going to have to track down this one.

Dan said...

A worthwhile read on its own.