Monday, March 24, 2014

Review - "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter"

The name Albert Einstein is known the world over, much like Sherlock Holmes. It is therefore unusual that a pastiche featuring the world's greatest detective and the world's foremost scientist has never come to light - that is until now. Tim Symonds' latest Sherlock Holmes novel, The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter at last features these two legendary figures together.

Dr. Watson is given an offer he cannot refuse - to photograph Sherlock Holmes standing on the precipice of the Reichenbach Falls, the site of his struggle with Professor Moriarty. As Watson cajoles Holmes into the trip, they must face the wrath of a vengeful Colonel Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's former right-hand man. Though the two manage to elude Moran and his gun-toting henchmen, the plot is about to thicken. Holmes and Watson are approached by the Dean of a prestigious Swiss university to investigate a promising young scientist named Albert Einstein. Two letters have been intercepted which Einstein wrote, one referring to a mysterious person named Lieserl. Who could this person be and what connection do they have to Einstein's life. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson shall journey throughout Europe in their quest for the truth, and will plunge into a world far darker and far more complex than either could ever contemplate.

I must heartily congratulate author Tim Symonds on his writing. The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter is his third Sherlock Holmes pastiche, the other two I have yet to read, but if they are like this one, they should make for some interesting reading. Symonds' research into his subjects was terrific, weaving in Sherlockian and historical knowledge into the plot. Reading The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter was not only presenting a fine mystery, but a learning experience,and a fine showcase into the situation of turn-of-the-century Europe. Symonds' prose must also be mentioned as he managed to capture the tone of Doyle's writing very well, though perhaps incorporated a few too many (for the lack of better words) big words.

In terms of canon, the book fared quite well - the presentation of Dr. Watson should be specially noted. Sherlock Holmes was presented as the intellectual great of Doyle's originals, but in my mind he did not do enough actual detective work to truly astound me. Other canon figures turned up as well, most notably Colonel Moran, who even after his only canonical appearance is still out to claim the life of the great detective. Another canon villain, whose name I shall not divulge, makes a far too brief cameo and his inclusion, though a nice nod the short stories, did not serve much of a purpose.

The plot of Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter was complex enough and surprisingly dark, but lacked in the dramatic department. With a title like The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter any revelations about a mysterious, unidentified person, aren't truly revelations. The fact that some historical details are presented in the author's forward also dispel some of that all-important mystery, so in essence the solution was presented even before Holmes and Watson embarked on their case!

That is not to say Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter was a disappointing read. With its complex plot and excellent research, the novel made for an interesting historical mystery. The presentation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson was well-done, some of the best in recent memory. I therefore give The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter 3.5 out of 5 possible stars.


Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USA,Amazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sleuthathon - "A Study in Terror"

Most Sherlockian cinema is a reflection of the era in which a movie was made. Yet, of all the Sherlock Holmes major motion pictures released thus far one is more firmly rooted than any other. That film is 1965's A Study in Terror, the first movie to pit the world's greatest detective against Jack the Ripper.

Today's review I submit as part of the Sleuthathon blogathon sponsored by Movies

A Study in Terror finds London's East End slum of Whitechapel terrorised by a brutal killer who is claiming young unfortunate women as his victims. Aware of the horrors being perpetrated, Sherlock Holmes (John Neville) is enticed into the case when a surgeon's medical bag arrives at 221B Baker Street - conspicuously missing a surgeon's postmortem knife. When it transpires that the bag belongs to the son of aristocracy, Holmes and Watson (Donald Houston) begin on a dark journey from the upper-crust to Whitechapel and will soon come face to face with Jack the Ripper himself!

What one must remember when watching A Study in Terror is that it can be enjoyed so much more if the viewer is willing to be entertained. History buffs be aware as the film does not accurately portray the Ripper murders. In fact, if anything Jack the Ripper is used as a thematic plot device - as is Sherlock Holmes. That's not to say that their presentation is wrong - in fact the persona of the great detective is excellently depicted. But, if one comes out of this movie thinking that Annie Chapman, the Ripper's secret victim, was a young blonde-haired woman, than they have been severely duped.

Made in the mid-1960's, this film certainly betrays that fact. A Study in Terror can be described in one word: camp. Filmed at the height of Batman's popularity in the United States starring Adam "Shark Repellent Bat Spray" West and Burt "Holy [insert noun here] Batman" Ward, A Study in Terror is greatly influenced. In fact, movie posters dubbed the great detective as "Here Comes the Original Caped Crusader!" Holmes becomes a gung-ho adventurer, who in an excellent bit fends off a group of thugs using a sword cane, and come the firey climax, Holmes isn't afraid to throw a few punches. The movie reinforces its '60's roots in its horror scenes, particularly the depictions of the Ripper killings. Each one is brutal and rather intense, but quick and show very little blood, obviously in the style of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho which predated this film by five years.

For a Sherlockian scholar, like myself, the main attraction in this film is John Neville's Sherlock Holmes. Neville had previously been approached for the role of the detective in the musical Baker Street, and he was later under consideration after Douglas Wilmer bowed out as the detective in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (the part eventually went to Peter Cushing). Whether he's conducting an excellent set of deductions or racing after the Ripper through the Whitechapel morgue, Neville accurately portrays all facets of the great detective. He is a pretty stiff, upper-crust detective, and there's a nice bit of comedy when he and Watson enter a seedy pub dressed in their best evening wear. To back up Neville's Holmes is Donald Houston's Watson, who provides a bit of comic relief in this rather dark film. The other reason for Sherlockians who may not have seen this movie is for Robert Morley's performance as Mycroft Holmes. Morley's Mycroft was the first time the detective's brother was portrayed on screen, and the resemblance between the actor and Sidney Paget's illustration is uncanny.

There are also a few other notable cast members: Frank Finlay plays a suitably rat-faced Inspector Lestrade and Anthony Quayle turns up as the reddest red herring as a soup kitchen owner/medico. Interestingly both actors would turn up in 1979's Murder by Decree, the second Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper film. Finlay played the same role in the latter film. A Study in Terror also marked one of the earliest film roles of legendary actress Judi Dench, who recommended for her role by star John Neville after the two had worked in theatre.

Following the film's release in 1965, the story was novelised by Ellery Queen, the nome-de-plume of mystery-writing cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee. Queen was also the name of their detective hero. Changing a great deal of the movie's plot, the novelisation found Queen retrieving a manuscript which depicted the events seen in the film. This retelling changed a number of plot points seen in A Study in Terror - most notably the identity of Jack the Ripper!

A Study in Terror is today a relatively obscure Sherlockian effort. If its viewer than get over the overt campiness of the whole thing, A Study in Terror will fit the bill for Sherlockian fare. I therefore give this enjoyable venture 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Top 10 Greatest Sherlock Holmes Films (Of All Time) Part II

Alright, let's keep this rolling, so without further ado, we move onto number five...

#5 - Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) - Seventy-two years after its release, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror still divides fans. Was Universal Studios justified in taking Sherlock Holmes from his familiar trappings and dropping him into the twentieth century? Were they even more justified in having Holmes fight the forces of the Third Reich? That is certainly not for me to decide. What I will say is that Voice of Terror is my favourite Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film.

What strikes the viewer straightaway is the brilliant look of this film. Brimming with shadows, angled shots and close-ups, this movie strongly resembles a Film-Noir. The atmosphere of the movie compliments its style, and there's a dark, yet glossy texture to the scenes. There are expert performances abound - Evelyn Ankers turns in a fine performance as a patriotic lady-of-the-night and Henry Daniell and Reginald Denny do their best with the fine roles of the suspects. But, this movie is stolen by Thomas Gomez as Nazi spy Meade, who with delusions of grandeur is one of the most compelling performances in any Sherlock Holmes film. Voice of Terror draws from Doyle's His Last Bow, and the closing coda is extremely touching as Rathbone expertly delivers the famous "East wind is coming" speech. Propaganda piece or not, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror is the best acted, best looking and hands down best Sherlock Holmes movie of the 1940's.

#4 - The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) - I've discussed this film a few times on this blog already, but I really do love this particular adaptation. Positively dripping with Gothic horror atmosphere, this movie is the most bombastic version of Hound which has ever been filmed. Aside from being, what the posters proclaim as being "the most horror-dripping tale ever written," the movie plays out as fine Sherlock Holmes piece, due to Peter Cushing's fine turn as the detective.

Though playing the part as thorny as a cactus, Cushing is a fine addition to the cast, delivering his best performance as the detective. Cold, aloof and condescending, this turn foreshadows other fine characterisations in years to come. Cushing is flanked on all sides by fine performers. Most notably is Andre Morell whose performance as Dr. Watson is one of the best, and one of the most accurate. There's also Christopher Lee as a humane Sir Henry Baskerville, and for the first time Lee gets to play a leading man in a Hammer Horror film. Despite some dodgy special effects (the hound itself is pretty...well...the less said the better), there are plenty of moments to chill the blood in a viewer's veins - fifty-five years after its first release. Overall, The Hound of the Baskervilles is an incredibly entertaining, wonderfully executed bit of Sherlockian entertainment, and though not doggedly faithful to Doyle's novel, surely the best of the lot. Click here to read some further thoughts on this adaptation as well as other versions of Hound.

#3 - Murder by Decree (1979) - Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper has been done to death. Yet, back in 1979, the idea was still relatively fresh. This luckily begat what I consider one of the finest Sherlock Holmes films ever made, and one of the finest movies I have ever seen. Murder by Decree is one of the most moving Sherlock Holmes films ever produced, and the gambit of emotions which this movie can spawn are unparalleled. What makes Murder by Decree an absolute stand-out is Christopher Plummer's performance as the detective. Though certainly at odds with Doyle's original, Plummer's sympathetic detective is a masterpiece of Sherlockian acting. The actor so brilliantly balances the emotional depth with the cold, calculation which is paramount in any Sherlockian portrayal. I highlight this interpretation especially since Murder by Decree does provide the detective with a plot-heavy mystery to solve, whereas our final two selections, though featuring brilliant performances on the part of the Sherlockian actor, are truly more character studies than whodunits.

Murder by Decree is also perhaps the most well-cast Sherlock Holmes film of all time. Opposite Christopher Plummer is the ever welcome James Mason as Watson, who gives an outstanding performance, and Murder by Decree features one of the best portrayals of the Holmes and Watson friendship. Anthony Quayle, Frank Finlay, David Hemmings and even Sir John Gielguud all put in appearances, as do Donald Sutherland and Genevieve Bujold, in what amounts to a truly heartbreaking performance. Murder by Decree isn't just one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies ever made, but one of the finest dramas I have come across.

#2 - The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) - Prepare for more gushing! The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, based off of the incredibly successful novel by Nicholas Meyer, is a virtual roller coaster ride of a film. In terms of plot, the movie manages to combine an evocative character study with a rip-roaring adventure. As I wrote before, the greatest thing about this film is Nicol Williamson's outstanding performance as a drug-addled Sherlock Holmes. Williamson's turn as the detective is almost indescribable, and really must be seen to be believed. Despite the fact that Williamson outright stated he had never read a Sherlock Holmes story, his turn is brilliant, coupling the usual confident demeanour with a fragile centre, seldom seen in the great detective.

Williamson is supported on all sides by fine performers - Alan Arkin jiving for top honours as Sigmund Freud, tasked with curing the detective of his cocaine addiction. Robert Duvall makes for a fine Dr. Watson (obviously fake English accent not withstanding), and Laurence Oliver's brief role as Professor Moriarty is a real pleasure to watch. The screenplay of the film was adapted by Meyer, so fans of the great detective will revel in the canonical references with are scattered throughout the film. There is also the now infamous credit sequence which feature not only the original Sidney Paget illustrations, but describe the characters...using footnotes!

The time has now come to reveal number one - the greatest Sherlock Holmes film of all time. If you're a regular reader of this blog, my choice may not be a big surprise...nevertheless, here we go:

#1 - The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) - It would be a Herculean feat to find fault in this mesmorising film. Director Billy Wilder's slightly tongue-in-cheek character study masterfully combines humour and drama, and is in all beautifully realised. The star attraction, as has been the case with most of these films, is the actor playing the detective. In this case, Robert Stephens' performance as a humane, flawed individual truly sets him apart from nearly all other interpretations of the great detective. While The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes may not stringently adhere to Doyle's canon, it adds new layers to the familiar characters and adding new material to the Sherlock Holmes mythos is a gift in itself.

The rest of the cast enforce the ever-changing mood in the film. Colin Blakely's over-the-top Dr. Watson is excellent, and the scene in which the good doctor is confused as Holmes' lover at the Russian opera is shear comedic gold. Genevieve Page reinforces the melancholic atmosphere, and Christopher Lee's cocky, never-to-be-trusted Mycroft Holmes is a fine characterisation, once more adding new layers to Doyle's originals. Everything about The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes just strikes the right chord with me, and to read further musings on this masterpiece of Sherlockian cinema, I direct your attention here - my first installment in the Portrait of Perfection review series on this blog.

And so, my list of the greatest Sherlock Holmes films of all time comes to and end. Yet, these top 10 lists are not yet through. Coming soon - The Top 10 Greatest Television Sherlock Holmes (Of All Time) where I shall look at the finest bits of Sherlockian TV which have appeared over the years. In the meantime, what do you think of my top five picks? Feel free to comment below!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Top 10 Greatest Sherlock Holmes Films (Of All Time) Part I

If I were to ever be accused of the crime of hyperbole, perhaps now is the time. With a title like 'The Top 10 Greatest Sherlock Holmes Films (Of All Time),' how couldn't you think that I have maybe overstepped my boundaries a bit? Well, maybe I have. Yet, the time has come for me to finally list my favourite Sherlock Holmes films. Some (and most) of these movies have already been covered on this blog, but never I think with the amount of gushing enthusiasm which is to follow. So, sit back and relax as I explore the first five films on this list. Note: To qualify, the film had to be a major motion picture release. So, as much as I would have loved to include an episode of Sherlock or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984), I sadly could not. Well then, let's begin!

#10 - The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935) - I have decided to start this list with a sadly forgotten era in Sherlockian history. One is liable to forget that the great detective had an entire career of films, and was played by many different actors, before the great Basil Rathbone. Prior to Rathbone's famed portrayal, Arthur Wontner was probably the most recognisable face to the Sherlock Holmes enthusiast. Between 1931 and 1937, Wontner starred as Sherlock Holmes in a series of five films, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes being the third.

Notable in the history of Sherlockian cinema as being a rare adaptation of Doyle's novel, The Valley of Fear, the film tackles the difficulties of transferring the novel to screen head on. The flashback scene which encompasses the second half of the book is adapted in full, and surprisingly the small English studio of Twickenham doubled rather well for a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Wontner is in top form here, despite being sixty at the time of filming. Wontner lends an air of dry, sardonic humour to the role, and has excellent chemistry with his Watson, Australian actor Ian Fleming (no relation to the James Bond creator of the same name). The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes' greatest accomplishment is the inclusion of Professor Moriarty, played by Lyn Harding. The bombastic actor gives a brilliant turn as the Napoleon of Crime, who actually plays an important role in the film, and becomes involved in the plot's action, which is at odds with Doyle's original where the Professor played a fairly minor role.

#9 - Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows (2011) - The second in the highly successful Guy Ritchie-directed franchise, Game of Shadows has divided fans since its release in 2011. With an abundance of action scenes and slow-mo, it is a pretty dizzying spectacle and rather far removed from the canon with gun running and explosions. Yet, Game of Shadows features brilliant performances from its leads. Robert Downey Jr. turns in an excellent performance as the detective, who is a bit more grounded this time 'round, while Jude Law continues to prove his worth as Watson, and elevating the part from the straight-man side-kick which it could be.

Also of note is Jared Harris, perhaps the finest Moriarty the screen has ever seen, enthusing the part of a steely determination and utter insanity, making this Napoleon of Crime feel like a true villain. Who could forget Moriarty's lyrical singing and dancing as he strings Holmes up by a large fish hook in the film's nastiest scene? While the plot doesn't leave much breathing room, there are some excellent set-pieces, especially the gun fight aboard the train, and the chase through the woods. Though it is perhaps not as apparent as in 2009's Sherlock Holmes, Holmes does do a bit of detective work, and it all comes flowing forth in a final bit of slight-of-hand during the climax's brilliantly tense chess match.

#8 - The Scarlet Claw (1944) - Universal Studios' Sherlock Holmes took a head-first plunge into the world of horror films for this fine installment in their lengthy series. While most find this entry the finest of all Basil Rathbone's 14 Holmes films, I do think others are better (you shall see), but I cannot deny its remarkable staying power and complex plot. For the first time of screen, Sherlock Holmes matches wits with a truly psychopathic killer, and the backdrop of fog-shrouded Canadian moorlands is one-hundred percent atmosphere. The killer's ploy of using multiple disguises means you never know who can and cannot be trusted from amongst the suspects, and come the finale, I dare anyone to say "oh, well I knew it was so and so from the start"!

Basil Rathbone lends one of his finest performances to this film, as does Nigel Bruce, who does a bit less bumbling than usual. They are backed up by Paul Cavanagh, Miles Mander and Arthur Hohl as well as Kay Harding, who plays a victim in one of the series' most gut-wrenching moments. To anyone who has not seen this film, be on the lookout for a particularly impressive scene in which one character bites the dust (I won't give too much away). It's a truly goose-bump raising, and surprisingly violent bit of movie-making, and shares more than one similarity to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, a film which The Scarlet Claw predates by sixteen years.

#7 - The Pearl of Death (1944) - Coming directly on the heels of The Scarlet Claw, Universal's The Pearl of Death sees Doyle's story, The Six Napoleons completely re-imagined. While not much of a mystery per se, The Pearl of Death is a taught thriller with Holmes and Watson racing to recover the stolen Borgia Pearl. To attract the horror film-loving crowd, Universal threw in The Creeper, a hulking brute of a murderer who snaps his victim's spines.

While The Scarlet Claw kept its mischief relegated to the Canadian boondocks, The Pearl of Death is set entirely in London, which, to some extent, makes the film have an even more unnerving atmosphere as all the Gothic action transpires right in a metropolitan setting. While the film's plot is pretty dark stuff, it retains a light air with Basil Rathbone's Holmes donning a disguise here and there, and Evelyn Ankers (one of 1940's horror finest actresses) portraying a number of parts. Miles Mander is back as the villain, simply oozing slime in the role, and Rondo Hatton makes his screen debut as the aforementioned Creeper. The Pearl of Death is one of the best of Universal's Holmes films, because, for the first time, it feels like the recurring cast is one big happy family. Rathbone, Bruce, Mary Gordon and Dennis Hoey all have such wonderful screen chemistry that you cannot help but smile.

#6 - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) - Rounding out Part I is the second Sherlock Holmes film in which Basil Rathbone played the great detective, and one of the finest Sherlockian turns of the 1930's. Coming off of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Rathbone's second outing shows just how quickly he slipped into the role, and its remarkable to see how much more comfortable he was playing the great detective. Though the plot leaves some plot holes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from start to finish is a wild, entertaining ride.

Complimenting Rathbone is Nigel Bruce, who is less bumbling and genuinely funny. There are some comedic gold sequences herein. There's also Ida Lupino turning in an excellent early performance, and no discussion of this movie would be complete without mention of George Zucco's Professor Moriarty. The Professor's scheme to pull off the crime of the century right under the detective's nose drives the plot forward. All of this is wrapped up in the great Christmas paper that is the Victorian setting, and tied with a neat little bow. The true highlight of this fun film is Basil Rathbone's performance of "I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside" while performing under the guise of a music hall performer. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is not one to be missed.

Well, Part I has come to an end. What do you think of these picks so far? Do they constitute as the greatest Sherlock Holmes films ever made? Fell free to comment below! Stop back next week for Part II in which I count down the top 5...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review - "In Cold Blood"

I confess going into Truman Capote's In Cold Blood I knew little of its subject or its author. The name Truman Capote was vaguely familiar and I knew of his links to Breakfast at Tiffany's and the farcical murder mystery, Murder by Death. Yet, Capote's supposed masterpiece had eluded me for years. Finally, I got around to reading it - and I must say that I was very surprised.

In Cold Blood is rooted in truth. On 15 November, Herbert Clutter, a wealthy farmer living with his wife and two children in Holcomb, Kansas were brutally murdered, each one shot to death with a shotgun. The apparently motiveless murder was the work of Perry Smith and Richard "Dick" Hickock, two cons who had gone to the Clutter farm with the intent of robbery. With a group of determined investigators on their trail, Perry and Dick managed to elude the cops before they're caught in Las Vegas, Nevada, tried and executed.

While my synopsis of Capote's 'true account' may seem like its dripping with spoilers, the fact that the book's cover gives away all of these plot points shouldn't be a problem. In Cold Blood is not a mystery, nor is it really a thriller - it is (in Truman Capote's own words) a nonfiction novel, detailing the circumstances around the Clutter family murder and the capture of their killers. Going into the book, I suspected that it was going to be a straightforward account, yet Capote embellished the narrative with so much more. The most fascinating thing about In Cold Blood was its portrayal of the killers. As the novel progresses, Perry Smith takes centre stage as the main character, and in an ingenious, and slightly uncomfortable bit of writing, the reader journeys inside his head.

In Cold Blood is an incredibly interesting read because it gives its reader an opportunity to get into another man's head. Capote humanises Perry Smith, to the point where the reader is liable to feel empathetic towards him. I won't give away too much, but Perry's roe to guilt is complex, chilling and very human.

The story behind In Cold Blood is almost as fascinating as the actual novel. Truman Capote was intrigued by a 300-word article which appeared in The New York Times concerning the Clutter's murder. He and his close friend Harper Lee, soon-to-be author of To Kill a Mockingbird journeyed to Holcomb, Kansas and interviewed the townspeople as well as the authorities charged with finding the killers. After Perry and Dick were arrested, Capote visited the two felons on death-row and interviewed them as well. In fact, Capote developed a close kinship with Perry, which is perhaps in part the reason why he is portrayed so sympathetically in the novel. By 1965, the year of Perry and Dick's execution, Capote had compiled at least 8,000 pages of notes from his various interviews. After waiting six years to publish his work, Capote put the finishing touches on In Cold Blood and it was officially released to rave reviews. Two years later, Capote aided in adapting the book to the big screen in the 1967 film version of the book.

Though I gave In Cold Blood nothing but praise thus far, it was not perfect. Capote's research at times got in the way of his story, and action came to an absolute halt in an effort to build up character. What's more, most of this character building could have been supplied in far fewer words than it was. And while Perry Smith received so much character development, the same cannot really be said for Richard Hickock who remained something of an enigma throughout, and I could never sympathise with him the same way I could with Perry. This at times made Capote's writing one-sided and possibly pedantic, but nevertheless what was there was truly engaging stuff.

As I mentioned above, In Cold Blood was adapted into a film in 1967, the screenplay written by Truman Capote. I have never seen the film, but I have read that it was filmed on location in Holcomb, Kansas, lending the movie a sense of documentary-style film making. It also registers number eight on AFI's Top 10 Greatest Courtroom Thrillers of all time. And of course no discussion of Truman Capote or In Cold Blood would be complete without acknowledging 2005's Capote, for which the late Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Again, I've never seen the movie, but I have heard excellent things about it. If anyone has seen either (or both) of these movies and you recommend them, leave a comment below.

Despite the fact that In Cold Blood was certainly not what I expected it to be, it turned out to be much better than I ever thought. It is an engaging and fascinating read which I will not hesitate in awarding 4 out of 5 stars. If you have never read In Cold Blood, I highly recommend it and suggest adding it to your 'to-read' list.