Monday, September 24, 2012

Montalbano

Readers of my earlier blogs might remember my admiration for Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano series. I've read all those that have been translated into English and have enjoyed them all. And I've enjoyed the series of TV programmes based on them, too, showing on BBC 4 on Saturday evenings. Luca Zinagretti is excellent as Montalbana and I've loved the Sicilian setting, the sun, the sea, the architecture,the food. But as I've watched the second series over the past few weeks, doubts have crept in. Camilleri's plots are not his strong point, but the books are fairly short and it doesn't matter all that much. It's not what I read them for in any case. But the TV dramatisations - last night's was an hour and fifty minutes - are beginning to seem over-leisurely even to point of boredom. I've found my attention wandering. And worse than that is the depiction of women. There are no women at all employed in the police station, indeed, few women in any professional roles and the last two episodes have included ludicrously seductive women, about as three-dimensional as the vamp in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. Maybe it's the old 1970s femininist in me coming to the fore, but I'm finding this increasingly annoying, not to mention in bad taste. I don't think this is altogether Camilleri's fault as I've just compared last Saturday's 'August Heat' with the book that it is based on and the emphasis is quite different. The novels are much better than TV versions. That's often the case. They are such different forms. I don't think any of the TV series of the Maigret novels have matched the original, though the Swedish Wallander series is pretty good.

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