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June 30, 2011 | | Comments 0

You Asked About: Catcher In The Rye

David asks…

Is ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ already a movie?

Recetly I was very surprised when I’ve found “The Catcher in the Ryein DVD at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/CatcherRye-Nigel-Tomm/dp/B0014A889U/

Description tells us that: “This is 75 minutes and 6 seconds of pure blue screen. Nothing less and nothing more” (!!!) How to understand it? Is it some kind of contemporary art or what?

Chas answers:

Clearly the amazon link is someone trying to make a dollar by using the name. They obviously do not think they will sell (m)any, since they are “manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.” IMHO, Salinger should find him/them and sue them.

Now, as to “Catcher”, no there has never been a film adaptation. Quoting from Wikipedia:

==

Attempted film adaptations

Early in his career, J. D. Salinger expressed a willingness to have his work adapted for the screen.[32] However, in 1949, a critically panned film version of his short story “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut” was released; renamed My Foolish Heart and taking great liberties with Salinger’s story, the film is widely considered to be among the reasons that Salinger has refused to allow any subsequent movie adaptations of his work.[33] The enduring popularity of The Catcher in the Rye, however, has resulted in repeated attempts to secure the novel’s screen rights.

When The Catcher in the Rye was first released, many offers were made to adapt it for the screen; among them was Sam Goldwyn, producer of My Foolish Heart.[33] In a letter written in the early fifties, Salinger spoke of mounting a play in which he would play the role of Holden Caulfield opposite Margaret O’Brien, and, if he couldn’t play the part himself, to “forget about it.” Almost fifty years later, the writer Joyce Maynard definitively concluded, “The only person who might ever have played Holden Caulfield would have been J. D. Salinger.”[34]

Salinger told Maynard in the seventies that Jerry Lewis “tried for years to get his hands on the part of Holden,”[34] despite Lewis not having read the novel until he was in his thirties.[28] Celebrities ranging from Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson to Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio have since made efforts to make a film adaptation.[35] In an interview with Premiere magazine, John Cusack commented that his one regret about turning twenty-one was that he had become too old to play Holden Caulfield. Writer-director Billy Wilder recounted his abortive attempts to snare the novel’s rights, saying,

“ Of course I read The Catcher in the Rye….Wonderful book. I loved it. I pursued it. I wanted to make a picture out of it. And then one day a young man came to the office of Leland Hayward, my agent, in New York, and said, ‘Please tell Mr. Leland Hayward to lay off. He’s very, very insensitive.’ And he walked out. That was the entire speech. I never saw him. That was J. D. Salinger and that was Catcher in the Rye.[36] ”

In 1961, Salinger denied Elia Kazan permission to direct a stage adaptation of Catcher for Broadway.[37] More recently, Salinger’s agents received bids for the Catcher movie rights from Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg,[38] neither of which was even passed on to Salinger for consideration.

In 2003, the BBC television program The Big Read featured The Catcher in the Rye, intercutting discussions of the novel with “a series of short films that featured an actor playing Salinger’s adolescent antihero, Holden Caulfield.”[37] The show defended its unlicensed adaptation of the novel by claiming to be a “literary review,” and no major charges were filed.

According to a speculative article in The Guardian in May 2006, there are rumors that director Terrence Malick has been linked to a possible screen adaptation of the novel.[39]

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