|THE MOVING TARGET aka HARPER|
Regular readers of this blog will recall that I recently reviewed HARPER (1966), a private detective film starring Paul Newman. The film was based on the novel "The Moving Target" by Ross MacDonald. I remembered having a copy of the book (pictured above) on my shelf and, having seen and enjoyed the film, I thought I'd give the book a read and see how they compare.
I'm here to report that the screenplay by William Goldman is a remarkably faithful adaptation of the source material. Of course, there are some minor changes. There are scenes in the book that aren't in the film and vice versa just as there are characters in the film that aren't in the book (such as Harper's ex-wife, played by Janet Leigh). But overall, in terms of main characters, storyline, plot and narrative (even some dialogue quoted verbatim from the novel), the movie serves the book very well.
"The Moving Target" was the first novel by Ross MacDonald to feature private detective Lew Archer. It was also the first Ross MacDonald novel I've read. I enjoyed it immensely. MacDonald was a very good writer and I'm eager to read more of his work. I'm about to start reading "The Three Roads", which is a stand alone crime novel and not a Lew Archer mystery. I'll have a full report soon.