Sunday, 15 November 2015


This Blofeld is authentic to Fleming's novels because he is Polish and realizes the importance of information and also to the Connery films because:

he presides at a SPECTRE meeting with his face in shadow;

the meeting pauses and everyone stands when he enters;

he acquires a disfiguring facial scar across one eye;

in an impressive SPECTRE headquarters, he addresses Bond from off-stage before entering to meet him in person - like Doctor No who, in the films, was also a SPECTRE operative.

Addendum, 18 November 2015: The octopus rings are also authentic to the Connery films.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Man From UNCLE

The new film could have begun by reproducing the visuals of the TV series but would then have had to go on to do more: to ground the series firmly in the Cold War period. Instead, it did something as good or better. It began with the period. We see Kennedy and Khrushchev. We do not recognize any theme tune or background music. The action starts in East Berlin. Solo is with the CIA, Kuryakin is with the KGB and they are trying to kill each other. Kuryakin is recognizable but bigger but that fits. He should be physically powerful.

Will UNCLE appear or has it been replaced by two real organizations, the CIA and the KGB? It has to appear because it is in the title - but does not come on stage until right at the end. This is partly a prequel and partly a rewrite. What we saw before was a popular TV series. This is the real thing. UNCLE might remain a four-person task force or could grow to fill a building in New York. The series could move in either direction.

A threat from corporate crime and surviving Nazis is big enough to bring together a covert operation involving Waverley, Solo, Kuryakin and a new version of the Girl. THRUSH may or may not emerge later.

The Girl In The Spider's Web

He does it right. He develops the characters and situations and introduces new characters and situations that fit. He does two good things with Bublanski. He adds an appropriate comic book connection. The story of Lisbeth's criminal family is not over yet.

This text is not based on any manuscripts left by Larsson so I hope that someone else will develop them. Two parallel Millennium universes.

One minor difference: Lagercrantz's text is less dense. It concentrates less information into each square inch of the page. But that does not prevent this novel from being an authentic continuation. I hope that Lagercrantz writes more. He plants clues that more will come: the sister and another brother.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Millennium Volume III

In the book, the Section exists and is so named before Zalachenko. In the film, it is set up to handle Zalachenko and is code-named "the Section" by another department that is investigating it. The book is able to present much more information about the history and operations of the Section.

In the book(s):

Gullbeck returns to Zala's room to kill himself whereas, in the film, he commits suicide in the corridor;

the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister get involved;

Blomkvist has a different affair in each volume on top of his relationship with Berger.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Millennium Volume II

I am not going to catalogue every difference between book and film but a few more spring to mind:

Blomkvist's relationship with Harriet Vanger is left out of the second film;

the book gives a better explanation of how Blomkvist came to have the keys to Lisbeth's new apartment;

in the book, Blomkvist quickly deduces the code for Lisbeth's alarm whereas, in the film, Lisbeth remotely cancels the alarm for him;

in the book, Lisbeth releases the guy that she nearly hanged whereas, in the film, she leaves in a hurry and the guy's daughter finds him like that (usually, changes delete characters whereas this change creates the daughter);

when Lisbeth interrogated the guy in the car hire firm, she hired one of his cars in the film but did not need to in the book;

the films leave out Nierdermann's hallucinations, superstition, capture by Blomkvist and escape from the police;

Erika's husband does not appear in the films.

Lisbeth and Zala sure are resilient, surviving when they should be dead, Zala twice.

"At the kitchen table Zalachenko looked up when he heard the sound of the falling crossbar." (Vol II, p. 559)

Does Zala not only hear a sound but also know that the sound is of a falling crossbar? If so, then this passage is narrated from Zala's point of view. Otherwise, it is narrated by the omniscient narrator, as are some earlier passages like when we are told that Bjurman did not know that he was sitting near to Blomkvist.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Millennium Films I And II

I have watched the second and third films and will now have to reread the books. It is obvious, first, that the films are authentic and, secondly, that they had to leave out a lot:

Lisbeth's adventures in the Caribbean; 
Erika going to work at a newspaper;
the guy at the newspaper harassing her by email;
Mikael's more complicated means of communicating with Lisbeth in the hospital;
Mikael's affair with a policewoman;
Mikael guessing the right code when he has tripped the alarm entering Lisbeth's apartment.

I liked the first novel's island setting but prefer it when the action is back in Stockholm. Zala is like Blofeld but there are people to track down even after Zala has been killed. It is good to see one government agency going after another.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Millennium Volume I

Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008).

This post assumes knowledge of the novel.

Vanger and the police should have looked at all the newspaper photographs and should also have realized that Harriet's list of numbers could have been Biblical references instead of telephone numbers. The detective, Morell, would then have recognized a connection with one murder and could have looked for the others.

I think that any screen adaptation of a novel should be a serial to include everything. However, given the constraint that the content of this long novel was shortened to fit into the length of a feature film, it is interesting to see how some details were changed to tell essentially the same story in a shortened form.

In the novel, Blomkvist's visiting daughter recognizes Harriet's numbers as Biblical references. When Blomkvist realizes that the references are connected to murders, he gets the help of a researcher, Salander. In the film it was Salander who saw that the numbers were Biblical references and emailed this information to Blomkvist.

In the novel, Vanger has photos of Harriet's window closed, then open. Blomkvist finds another photo with Cecilia's face in the window. In the film, Vanger has a photo of a face in the window. It is Cecilia's sister, Anita, although Vanger thinks that it is Harriet!

In the novel, Salander wakes, sees that Mimmi has gone, then is visited by Blomkvist. In the film, it is easier to tell us that Salander has been sleeping with Mimmi by showing Mimmi still in the bed when Salander wakes.

In the novel, the pressed flowers can be mailed to Vanger from anywhere in the world although usually from Stockholm and the one that arrives at the beginning of the novel does come from Stockholm. At the beginning of the film, it comes from Hong Kong.

In the novel, Salander answers Frode's questions about Blomkvist. In the film, she insists that it is all in her report and leaves the room, saying little, which is in character for her.

Later: Salander visits her mother in a nursing home throughout the novel whereas she visits her for the first time in a long while at the end of the film.

OK. It gets more complicated. In the film, the woman in the window who Vanger thought was Harriet was really Anita. In the novel, the woman in the window who Blomkvist thought was Cecilia was also really Anita.

17 Mar: As far as I can remember from a single viewing so far, the film leaves out the relationship between Blomkvist and Cecilia. He has enough going on with Berger and Salander for a single film.

In the novel, the confrontation between Blomkvist and Martin does not begin with the confrontation between Blomkvist and Harald that is in the film. The film adds a scene with Salander and Martin at Martin's wrecked car.

Salander's mother dies near the end of the novel. The film shows flashbacks of young Salander burning her father, although we do not know that that is who he is yet. The latter is a consistent addition, not a contradiction.

In the film, Blomkvist attends a family meeting, which does not happen in the novel. In the novel, he has an unpleasant confrontation with Harriet's mother, which does not happen in the film.

In the novel, Blomkvist tells Vanger that Harriet is alive, is nearby and is willing to meet him whereas, in the film, Blomkvist springs Harriet on Vanger unannounced.

18 Mar: The way in which Dahlman is exposed as a spy for Wennerstrom differs between novel and film. Wennerstrom was shot in the novel but committed suicide in the film.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Stieg Larsson's Millennium

I have just watched Episode One of the first Stieg Larsson film which seems to be a perfect adaptation, with every actor right for their role. It remains to watch the entire Trilogy.

Relevant previous posts are:

Paolo Roberto;
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo;
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo II;
Blofeld's Successors.