Thursday, August 26, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: TV Edition-Books You Want To Be Adapted Into A TV Series


Ughh...This was a tough one because many of the books I read have already been adapted into something so I went to my Go To knowledge which are Movies/Actors/Actresses. Wandering Through The Shelves picked a doozy and I had to put my thinking thinking cap on. I will also state these are Mini-Series or now called Limited-Run Series. These will also be on the good old fashioned regular TV-No Netflix, Prime, Disney, HBO, Hulu, Gulu, Zulu, Boo-Boo. Here they are...


I have always been intrigued by the murder of William Desmond Taylor, a pretty famous director, back 100 years ago. He was murdered on Feb 1, 1922 and the murder has never been solved. Careers of some big stars were harmed because of his murder and the sensationalized antics of the newspapers. Famous stars, Mable Normand and Mary Miles Minter were thrown to the wolves by the newsmen. It was found out that William Desmond Taylor was actually, William D. Tanner who walked out of his home in New York City(I think, 1909) and never returned, leaving his wife and daughter behind. This book was brought to my attention by Joel, whom I think is the Guru for anything Hollywood. Mr. Kirkpatrick wanted to write a biography on King Vidor, a very famous film director but, when Mr. Kirkpatrick found a steel box, hidden away, with all the investigative notes by King Vidor on the Taylor murder case, he decided to write a book on this murder. It does go step by step through all the crap that was written about Taylor, the people involved and what was unfounded and what was surprising. I found the book went a bit to the romantic glow of it (when Vidor meets Mintor in 1967 and is dumbstruck at how Minter looks and behaves) plus I think he may have taken some liberties (Vidor and Colleen Moore relationship as he was not in the room with them) but I do like the investigation. I would love to talk with Joel about who Vidor thought was guilty because I am not 100% certain of this author's assessment or even Vidor's. Anyway, why no film has been made about this big murder is beyond me.


I have always been enamoured with Louise Brooks because of her intelligent beauty. I had no idea about her rebellious nature nor her sexual appetites and F You attitude that got her into many troubles. Barry Paris wrote an excellent book about her life detailing many events that just leave you gobsmacked. She is best known for playing in the 2 German films, "Pandora's Box" and "Diary Of A Lost Girl" both directed by G.W. Pabst (whom she slept with...she also had a one night stand with Garbo). It would be a brilliant mini-series to see this actress's life come alive but it would have to be intelligently written so, I think, PBS, should have this. The only problem is...who could play this rebellious lady with a strong, screw you attitude, but with great intelligence. If you can think of someone today who could play her, that would be great. Please no Keira Knightly. 


I could not put this book down and it is not a "Mommie Dearest" type book but a very detailed account of a world famous star, Marlene Dietrich, and the image she had to always portray. It truly showcases how narcissistic Marlene was and how she manipulated her husband and his beautiful, intelligent, sweet but frail mistress, Tamara, who finally was placed in a mental institution. Marlene went from shocking the film industry by wearing pants and kissing girls to box office poison only to return in a western before helping out the war effort, singing for the troops sometimes behind enemy lines. She also gave herself to many a soldier since they need something before they may die in battle the next day. She became a Cabaret star (I don't get it) in very "revealing" outfits. When she fell off the stage in the 70's and broke her leg, she retired to her Paris apartment spending the last years of her life in bed...never moving from it...literally!. This is an excellent document on a very disturbed but talented woman. Again this must be shown on PBS and who could play Marlene? Please no Meryl (ughh) and no Jennifer Lawrence. Maybe Diane Kruger??

The clips I chose are lengthy but they give a good insight into the possible films that could be done.

Which books would you choose to become series?


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    I am here sitting in the balcony with you "At The Movies!" please pass the Mason Dots.

    This category is a toughie for me as well. I enjoyed learning the back story about the unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor. Having a fake doctor be the first to examine the body and declare the C.O.D. to be something quite different from the actual one is a ploy I have seen used in works of fiction. It also reminds me of the scene in North By Northwest in which Leo G. Carroll rushes in as the first to examine Cary Grant's "lifeless corpse" and declare him dead in front of a hundred witnesses at Mount Rushmore, enabling Grant to fake his own death.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with the beautiful screen star Louise Brooks "the poster girl for a generation" according to Cosmopolitan, and viewing the sex-charged Ripper scene from her acclaimed 1929 film Pandora's Box. Having just now watched the trailer on IMDB, I'm adding that one to my watch list.

    I also appreciated the rare clips from the life and film career of German-born actress Marlene Dietrich. In 2007, the year I binged on black & white films made during the first half of the 20th century, I somehow missed many of her pictures. I need to go back and correct that mistake.

    I hope you are well and in good spirits, dear friend BB. If you'd like to visit Shady's Place while the current post is still running, you have one more day. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your week and weekend!

  2. I like the direction you went here. The first one sounds like it would make a great true crime doc.

  3. That is a tough one. Especially since the books are usually better than the series they would be made into.

  4. Hi Birgit, I'm delighted that you found the time to read "A Cast of Killers"!!! And equally pleased that you liked it so much! Sensational book and yes it would make a great miniseries if properly cast. Such a convoluted story that has everything-love, lust, betrayal, corruption, secrets and mystery among them.

    That Louise Brooks was a pistol. I envision Essie Davis, from The Miss Fisher Mysteries, as an ideal choice to bring her story to life.

    I've only read snippets of her daughters bio of her and seen a few interviews but know that Marlene Dietrich was a complex woman of many contradictions both good and bad. Her ending was sad but she had a great time for most of her very busy life. By the way years ago I saw a filmed version of her cabaret show and both it and she were phenomenal, even on television she radiated star power so strongly.

    This theme was more of a challenge this year. I usually go to entertainment for at least one of my picks but decided to veer in another direction though I did go with one historical bio, someone from the long ago political sphere.

    The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley: In Illinois of the mid-1850’s clever, fiercely independent Lidie (Lydia), only 20 but already considered a spinster by her sisters, marries abolitionist Thomas Newton after a very brief courtship and departs for the wild and wooly Kansas Territory. Upon arrival they find a place on the verge of statehood but with hostilities erupting between the “free-state” abolitionists and Missouri’s pro-slavery factions. As a rough and tumble frontier confronts the pair in “Bleeding Kansas” Lidie becomes immersed in the societal, political, psychological, ethical, and economic conditions that led to the violent conflicts while both trying to find her place in the world and survive the tumult.

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley: Time: summer of 1950. Place: the once grand English mansion Buckshaw. 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, lover of everything to do with chemistry and a passion for poison but zero patience for older sisters Ophelia and Daphne who she sees as twits, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird found on the doorstep, a postage stamp pinned to its beak, followed shortly afterward by finding a dying man lying in the cucumber patch. Flavia, both appalled and delighted, turns instant sleuth. Atop her trusty if ramshackle bicycle “Gladys” she starts searching for clues but starts to worry when the trail seems to point in an unwanted direction. First in a series of adventures featuring Flavia, followed by The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag and 8 others, this could be a great comic mystery miniseries.

    Mrs. Adams in Winter by Michael O’Brien: In 1797 English born Louisa Johnson married rising politician and future sixth president, the brilliant but difficult, John Quincy Adams and took up life as a diplomat’s wife in far flung locales. In the winter of 1815, Louisa left the Russian city of St. Petersburg with her 7-year-old son Charles to travel via coach to Paris, nearly 2000 miles away across a Europe dangerously torn from the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat and exile. In the 40 days it took her to reach Paris she learns to arrange her own affairs, loses babies to illness and miscarriage and graces the highest courts in Europe as the wife of the American ambassador meeting Russian Czars, Prussian Kings, British Princes and Rhineland Electors. Based on her personal diaries, letters and essays.

  5. Sorry, not familiar with these.
    Hope your day has been a good one.

  6. Those would make fascinating shows. I have read lots of books that I would enjoy seeing as a show. The one that immediately comes to mind are the Dragonriders of Pern series.

  7. I've not heard of any of these before, but they all sound like they would be great series. At least I've heard of Marlene Dietrich.

    I'd never heard of Louisa Roberts, but after seeing her, I think Gillian Anderson would made a great Roberts. She is a gifted and multi-talented artist.

  8. These would all make riveting shows! I remember reading the story of Taylor's murder in Hollywood Babylon. Diane Kruger would make a fabulous Marlene Dietrich, no doubt! I would love to see AZTEC (by Gary Jennings) made into a series. It's the story of what happened to the Aztecs after the Cortez invasion.