Monday, May 23, 2011
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle
The original novel was the first one George V. Higgins published, after 17 failed attempts, and he went on to write more than twenty others before he died in 1999 at the age of fifty-nine. He also had a busy career as a U.S. Attorney. His books are unique in that they are written almost entirely in dialogue, usually profane and often very lengthy, the same guy talking on for pages. The movie script for Eddie Coyle was nearly catatonic in comparison. He presents an interesting contrast with Robert B. Parker. They were both born in the 1930’s, started publishing around the same time and cranked out reams of stuff about their chosen territories. Yet Parker remains an icon of detective fiction while Higgins is scarcely remembered.
For an interesting tidbit about the movie, consider that the bank robber Jimmy Scalise was played by Alex Rocco. Rocco was a native of Cambridge, Mass. who grew up in Somerville and hung out with Whitey Bulger’s Winter Hill gang in his youth. According to Wikipedia, he was involved in an incident that set off “the Boston Irish Gang War of the 1960’s”. Young Rocco had the good sense to leave Boston for California, change his name (from Petricone) and become an actor. All of us miscreants should make such lucky choices in our own lives.
George V. Higgins (Wikipedia)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Wikipedia)
Alex Rocco (Wikipedia)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Amazon.com)
Obituary - George V. Higgins (The Independent)