When I began writing my novella "The Lost Film" back in 2010 (it's due to be launched at next years FantasyCon and a few of the chapters have been through the group critiquing process), I started reading a lot of crime. One of the books I decided to re-read (after a perhaps twenty-year break) was "Falling Angel" by William Hjortsberg (1978). I enjoyed it so much that, the weekend after I finished, my wife & I watched “Angel Heart”, the 1987 film written for the screen and directed by Alan Parker.
|Mysterious Press edition|
Re-reading this and watching the film so closely together, I’ve realised that they’re equally good, but Parker took a lot of liberties with the source material (some of which are understandable, some not).
|Millipede press edition|
Do the changes detract from the power? No, I don’t think so, but they’re not really the same animal. It was nice spotting pieces of film dialogue in the novel but I think a film could be made of “Falling Angel”, sticking very close to the source, which would be every bit as powerful as “Angel Heart” was, without usurping its position as a top drawer film based on the book.
So which is better? I’m going to wimp out here, I can’t pick one. I’d love to see a film that sticks to the book but what we got instead is still a top quality piece of entertainment. So I’ll call it a draw and suggest that whichever you go for - book or film - you won’t be disappointed.
|1987 UK quad poster|