Friday, January 20, 2006

Fan Tan by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell

Fan-Tan by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell (Alfred A. Knopf)… This fast-paced adventure takes place in 1927, and features bloodthirsty Asian pirates led by an inscrutable femme fatale, along with a seafaring anti-heroic protagonist who appears to be based on Marlon Brando as he appeared in Mutiny on the Bounty. Originally conceived by Brando and director Donald Cammell as a screenplay for the greatest (then) actor alive, it languished for a good twenty years before being resurrected and published as a novel. It has a pithy plot, replete with brutal homicides and methodical character development, and it reflects the authors' mutual infatuation with Asian women. The denoumental sex scene is surely one of the most unique in modern literature. And editor David Thompson, in an Afterword, has much to say about the mysterious Cammell (director of the drug-drenched film Performance, among other singularities), which adds greatly to the book's mystique. Good stuff, and here's hoping someone films it someday. (Dennis P.Eichhorn)

No comments: