Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher, Los Angeles journalist, really lives for his profession. As Jane Doe, he publishes articles that have caused several heads to roll in the past. Now, Fletch is at it again: In disguise as a bum, he lives at the beach, researching drugs and their dealing. One day, Fletch is addressed by Alan Stanwyk, a rich man, who asks him, the bum, a favour. For the sum of $50,000, Fletch should kill poor cancer-ridden Mr. Stanwyk with a gun, so that his wife will get the insurance money. What the guy didn't think of was Fletch's real profession. Returning into normal life, Fletch instantly takes up research not only to find out that Mr. Stanwyk is healthy as life itself but he also runs into certain connections between drug dealing at the beach, Alan Stanwyk, his private jet, the police and a very expensive piece of Land in Utah. Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You had to be there. No, that is not a figure of speech. You literally had to be there. Before computers and cable. In the age of print. In the age of books. Greg McDonald popped out nowhere with his Fletch series and it caught on like wildfire. Fletch was an investigative reporter, and the books were marketed as mysteries. But there were a lot of mysteries back then. So, you ask (er ... you WOULD ask if you were paying attention) what was there about the Fletch series that made it a runaway bestseller back in the days when mysteries were a dime a dozen and dinosaurs walked the earth? The answer is not the character, not the mystery itself, and not the rich background detail (because there was none). It was the writing. Sparse. Bare. So tight your backteeth ached when you read it. On the cover of the Fletch pocket books -- yes, they sold them in bookstores and drugstores -- the publisher actually reproduced a few sample lines of text from the book simply to "show off" the powerful, simple, prose. As this is written, I don't know how many AMLIT classes around the US have McDonald on the curriculum but I can opine that they all should. His writing was THAT unique. Now the film. Imagine how the Hollywood screenwriter felt when handed this project? Apoplexy comes to mind. So, fearful of losing the gig, he did what every Hollywood screenwriter does when he doesn't understand the material he has ... he turned it into a comedy. Chase was cast and he was just superb ... but superb in a role that never existed in the book! (And less superb in the sequel because by then the novelty was wearing off). It showcases the power of movies in our culture that, to this day, millions of Chase fans think that the Fletch series was actually written that way. Factoid -- one of the oddest, and possibly scariest, things about the film is the scene where Chase puts on the "disguise" of the old man. Because, if you compare the makeup with the way he actually looked some 30 years later -- as in Google Images -- you will find a perfect match.
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