While restoring an old painting showing a woman and two men playing chess, Julia discovers the text "Who killed the knight" underneath the paint. The owner of the painting tells her that ...
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Barbara Willis Sweete
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Kenneth C. Balcomb III,
While restoring an old painting showing a woman and two men playing chess, Julia discovers the text "Who killed the knight" underneath the paint. The owner of the painting tells her that one of his forefathers was killed, the painting might identify the murderer. When Julia's friend is killed she understands that there is more to it. She consults Domenec, a chess genius who reconstructs the game from the painting. With any piece he takes, somebody dies. Written by
Radboud Bruinsma <Radboud_Bruinsma@hg.maus.de>
It is perfectly comprehensible that in converting a book into a film, certain aspects become altered. There will always be deviations from perhaps the original idea, and of course certain literary concepts will be lost. Only very occasionally does a film come out that may seriously be considered a faithful adaptation of the novel in question. What is totally incomprehensible is the mutilation suffered by the highly readable 'La Tabla de Flandes' by the most popular Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The novel is set in Madrid the film moved that scenario to Barcelona. The quiet, absorbed, meditative intellectual chess-player Muñoz in the book was replaced for the film by a vulgar, gaudy, flamboyant, almost gypsy-looking, blonde called Domenec, and the nicely composed Spanish señorita called Julia was transposed into a terribly British Kate Beckinsale. Indeed, all those fine characters penned by Pérez-Reverte were transformed into British Isles actors. Apart from these unbelievable and unforgivable changes of convenience, the film hustles along from scene to scene in a highly disordered and accident-ridden way, confusing those who have not read the novel, angering those who have, and no doubt leaving the author feeling nauseous.
I have read just about everything Arturo Pérez-Reverte has published to date. In film versions I have only seen 'La Tabla de Flandes' and 'Territorio Comanche' (qv). Suffice to say: forget about the films in all cases, and Sr. Pérez-Reverte himself is the first to veto these films. But if you would like some challenging, exciting reading of good style and pace, carefully meditated and ingenious plots, frequently based on real history and exhaustive investigations to prepare them, I recommend in the following order: El Hussar, Territorio Comanche, El Maestro de Esgrima (q.v. - 1992 directed by Pedro Olea and worth a watch), El Club Dumas, La Tabla de Flandes, and La Piel del Tambor, as well as the 'Capitán Alatriste' series all available in English (am not certain about the first title being in English) and probably in French and German, as well as other languages.
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