Best screen adaptations of Elmore Leonard's stories
From Steven Rea's
"On Movies Online"
Homage to Leonard
Elmore Leonard, who died Tuesday at 87, left behind a library of game-changing mystery and crime thrillers - LaBrava, Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Unknown Man No. 89 . . . a daunting list of smart, funny, suspenseful, and impossibly cool novels and stories. Leonard's relationship with Hollywood was impressive, too: In all, 27 of his books and short fiction titles have been adapted for the movies and television - three of them twice (52 Pick-Up, 3:10 to Yuma, and The Big Bounce).
Here's a list of a half-dozen of the best Leonard book-to-screen adaptations. Also, Ken Tucker, in his savvy appreciation of Leonard on the Grantland website, singled out the 1957 Randolph Scott Western The Tall T.
3:10 to Yuma (1957) Taut western, with Van Heflin holding outlaw Glenn Ford until the sheriff can get him on the train. A posse of bad guys intervene. Remade in 2007 with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.
52 Pick-Up (1985) Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret in a gritty neo-noir about blackmail and retribution.
Get Shorty (1995) John Travolta as a Miami mobster who goes to L.A. and finds he does just fine swimming with the sharks in the movie biz.
Hombre (1967) Paul Newman is a taciturn, Apache-raised white man caught up in a stagecoach robbery and its bloody aftermath.
Jackie Brown (1997) Quentin Tarantino's homage to blaxploitation is also one of the best homages to Leonard's books. Pam Grier is a flight attendant playing the feds against a ring of arms smugglers and falling in with a bail bondsman (Robert Forster) who has, understandably, fallen for her.
Out of Sight (1998) Jennifer Lopez is a U.S. marshal taken hostage by George Clooney when he escapes from prison. She breaks free but can't break her attraction to the guy, who aims to pull off one last job.