TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:55 am

What did you think of Corso’s character in the book? How does he compare to Corso in the movie?
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Anna » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:18 am

Lucas is more vulnerable, or rather his vulnerable side or Achilles' heel is implied (the Nikon subplot). Dean's character doesn't have a Nikon story told but I feel JD adds a similar layer. You know there's more to the guy than meets the eye but that could well be my JDOCD talking and I'm just imagining that.
I like Dean much better than Lucas. I like the film's detective/thriller story better than the book. Lucas' fascination with Irene Adler and his yearning for Nikon doesn't do anything for me. I just think he's a wooz with 'mother issues'. Polanski's story which shows a cynical Corso with a fascination for the dangerous, mystical and occult, is more the wolf-like creature Perez Reverte repeatedly alludes to. 'The girl' in the film leads Dean to the Ninth gate and whether that is his ultimate destination or his downfall is open to interpretation. The book's ending with Corso living happily ever after with Adler is IMO bland and a disappointing finale to an unbalanced story with a very sketchy main character. Dean is far more interesting and paradoxically enough far easier to identify with.

Hope that makes sense. As usual I'm thinking out loud.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Parlez » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:23 am

The physical description of the two were the same in both the book and the movie, which I really liked. However, that's where the similarities ended, IMO. Lucas came across as a real predator - thanks mostly to Balkan's narrative - whilst Dean came across as more of a hapless victim. For example, in the scene where he and Milady come together, as it were, I saw Lucas as being the kind of guy who would totally take advantage of a situation like that and meet her voraciousness with equal gusto. Dean seemed to be merely responding to Milady's advances in kind of powerless way. In fact, Dean seemed relatively powerless throughout the whole movie, whereas in the book I got the sense that Lucas had a lot more control over what he was doing, at least initially. As I said before somewhere, the absence of Nikon in the movie made Dean come off as a bit one-dimensional. Actually non-dimensional. Which may have been Polanski's aim - to show a guy who's morally, emotionally, spiritually flat. That would be the kind of guy who would go down the road Corso ended up going down.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Endora » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:26 am

I'm with you regarding the ending, Anna, but I always did like open endings and found this one too closed.

I kind of agree about liking Dean more than Lucas. The thing about Nikon didn't quite ring true. I felt he did have some sort of relationship that had shaped his past, but I didn't like Nikon because something about her was too simple, probably the impression created by those pictures she was taking, sad eyed children and the like. Dean would have been more bitter, less wistful, imho. He is needy, but just needy enough. He does not lapse into self-pity like Lucas. Maybe I'm saying that Dean is more subtle here...a bit like what you mean, Parlez?

I also liked Dean better because he avoided all that Napoleonic business for which I had little sympathy. I liked his cynicism and nastiness, and the way he got through things by himself.

However, I have to say that with my second read through I am liking L. more.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:31 pm

Parlez, I agree with you that in the case of the scene with Milady, Dean came off more as a hapless victim. Other than that, I think Dean was just as much a predator….at least when it came to books. I think they were quite similar, actually. It was really hard for me not to see Dean while I was reading, which I think, has clouded my thinking in regards to Lucas. I actually liked Lucas better because of how he could not let go of Nikon. For me, that made him more sensitive than Dean. And I think that if someone other than Johnny had played Dean, I would have totally disliked the character. This is because Johnny adds dimension to him.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby gemini » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:30 pm

To me the two Corso's, are much alike from the book to the film. Dean in the film is a wolf used to tricking people out of valuable books and prides himself on it with no feelings of guilt just as Lucas does in the book. I didn't see either Dean or Lucas as being lead like an innocent, both were very aware that the girl and the others in the story were all chasing the same thing he was after.
I was surprised by the mention of a happy ending in the book as opposed to the film. Somehow I missed that.
Anna says "Polanski's story which shows a cynical Corso with a fascination for the dangerous, mystical and occult, is more the wolf-like creature Perez Reverte repeatedly alludes to."
I see both Dean and Lucas in this way. Lucas has flashes of his past to show that he was once given a chance at love with Nikon but he knows that he was not able to live that life. He prefers to be what he is and from what I read he made all the choices and was slipping toward more of the occult as the book progressed, just as Dean did in the film.
I see Liz has phased it better then I have with both being "just as much a predator".
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby stroch » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:18 pm

This is difficult for me to answer because my jdocd interferes with my critique of any of his movies. Just seeing him and watching him perform makes me believe that whatever he is in is sublime. So, I loved watching the movie, and watch it fairly often.

That said, I rather liked the book's Corso better.

The Waterloo intervals, his relationship with the Portugese detective, Nikon, his interior monologues, all made me understand the character better. The movie is unsatisfying on a lot of levels -- there are too many gaps in the structure, and the overall story is weak, especially the ending. The book is irritating in a number of ways, and I got very tired of the 3 musketeers, but I enjoyed the narrative more. I'd like someone to redo the movie and clarify all the jarring out of place stuff.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:24 pm

Lots of good responses so far!

Like Liz when I think Corso I see Johnny's Corso. :cloud9: Both times I have read the book I "saw" Johnny as I read. I also found the characters to be very similar. I think the perceived differences are the differences in the book and movie which I think we aren't supposed to discuss yet. So, let me just say I think the Nikon dimension versus no Nikon, the Anjou Wine manuscript being a huge part of the story versus the 9 Gates being the only aim of the story, etc makes the character of Corso appear different because he acts in a different story frame -- but I feel for the main part they are similiar/identical.

Did I mention that Corso with his glasses and his greying temples and the book bag over his back and that trenchcoat flapping about his legs is one of my favorite Johnny characters??? :cloud9: So I may not be completely objective here.

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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:28 pm

stroch wrote: I'd like someone to redo the movie and clarify all the jarring out of place stuff.


I have always found the movie version hard to understand! I think, however, that the movie's problems have a lot to do with writing and especially editing. The footage that would improve the movie probably already existed in a trash can!

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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby gemini » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:47 pm

I already said that I thought the two Corso's very much the same but I did forget to mention that I liked the book better than the film. Like some of you mentioned I read the book after seeing the film so both Corso's were Johnny.
There is one line in the film that stood out for me and that was when Corso and the girl were entering the meeting of the occult group and she asked what he was going to do if they ran into someone. His answer was "probably hide behind you". It was so Corso and Johnny.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Kittycat88 » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:05 pm

gemini wrote:I already said that I thought the two Corso's very much the same but I did forget to mention that I liked the book better than the film. Like some of you mentioned I read the book after seeing the film so both Corso's were Johnny.
There is one line in the film that stood out for me and that was when Corso and the girl were entering the meeting of the occult group and she asked what he was going to do if they ran into someone. His answer was "probably hide behind you". It was so Corso and Johnny.


Good one, gemini! :lol: I have been and always will be fascinated and totally in love with film Corso. I wish the Girl in movie had been more like the Girl in the book...the film lacks any type of romance. And of course the book has a happier ending, depending on how you take it. But the truth is everytime I sit down to watch this movie I concentrate on some other part...my only big regret is the casting of ES for the Girl...I didn't think she was right for the part. But since she ends up devil in the film it doesn't bother me. If it ended like the book, I don't know. I am not sure these two had a lot of chemistry on screen. Not for a happy ending...and you know me and my happy endings!! :heart:
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:18 pm

Kittycat88 wrote:
gemini wrote:I already said that I thought the two Corso's very much the same but I did forget to mention that I liked the book better than the film. Like some of you mentioned I read the book after seeing the film so both Corso's were Johnny.
There is one line in the film that stood out for me and that was when Corso and the girl were entering the meeting of the occult group and she asked what he was going to do if they ran into someone. His answer was "probably hide behind you". It was so Corso and Johnny.


Good one, gemini! :lol: I have been and always will be fascinated and totally in love with film Corso. I wish the Girl in movie had been more like the Girl in the book...the film lacks any type of romance. And of course the book has a happier ending, depending on how you take it. But the truth is everytime I sit down to watch this movie I concentrate on some other part...my only big regret is the casting of ES for the Girl...I didn't think she was right for the part. But since she ends up devil in the film it doesn't bother me. If it ended like the book, I don't know. I am not sure these two had a lot of chemistry on screen. Not for a happy ending...and you know me and my happy endings!! :heart:

Nebraska and Kittycat, he is one of my favorite Johnny characters also. And I agree, gemini, that is soooooo Johnny.

I felt that Lucas explained Dean more. So I do feel they were very similar. But I do feel like I got a good enough feel from Dean to say that he was true to the Lucas character, as much as was possible in translating it from book to film. The Corso character in the movie was probably the closest resemblance to the book. We will be comparing the book to the movie in a later question, so let’s not go further into that. And we will also be talking about the endings later.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:04 am

I agree with Gemini very much alike and I also saw Johnny in both , or at least if I thought about it while reading I did but mostly I was caught up in the story and didn't do it on a conscious level. I know as I read I was picking out the similarities to the film and what was not in it .

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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby Parlez » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:47 am

There's a difference, IMO, between being an opportunist and being a predator. My impression of Dean Corso was that he was the former ~ a guy who was savvy enough to pocket a few valuable books when they were just sitting there on the table, or to offer an artificially low appraisal of a collection just to screw around with the competition. But that does not a predator make. For the most part, Dean worked as an agent for the real predators - the ones with the resources to stop at nothing to get what they wanted. He was an unsavory guy perhaps, but he worked for even more unsavory people, in an unsavory world. I never got the feeling he was that into it himself; he was just the grunt guy sent on missions of acquistion for others.
Lucas, on the other hand, came across as someone who really got into the game; who really relished the hunt.
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Re: TCD Question #16 ~ Comparing Corsos

Unread postby radwen » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:51 am

I might be in the minority here, but when I first saw the movie, I just didn't care for that Corso. I thought he was a one dimensional character, flat, going through the motions.
Lucas on the other hand was more well developed. He had regrets, doubts, friends. He was more real. I liked him better and cared about what happen to him.

nebraska - your point about different story lines actually puts it all into perspective. I think the differences in feelings about Dean and Lucas are mostly attributed to the different story frames that they are acting within. :cool:
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