Eine Zitaten-Reise durch Elmore Leonards Werk (Teil 1)

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Er schrieb sein Leben lang. Ein Profi. Elmore „Dutch“ Leonard. 11. Oktober 1925 bis 20. August 2013. Er war ultracool. Staubtrocken. Er schrieb dort, um es mit Timothy Hallinan zu sagen, wo das Streichholz ratscht – „where the match meets the scratch“. In seinen Büchern habe ich die letzten Wochen immer wieder geblättert, die Zitate sind Zufallsfunde, jeder kann leicht noch bessere bei ihm finden.

Nach dem College beschloss Leonard Autor zu werden, fand als Genre den Western, fern lag ihm da noch dessen Verbindung zum Kriminalroman, wie sie etwa in den „Lederstrumpf“-Romanen angelegt ist.

Elmore wählte Westerngeschichten, weil er Westernfilme mochte. Seine erste Story „Tizwin“, das Apachenwort für Maisbier, kauft ihm „Argosy“ 1951 ab, änderte den Titel in „Red Hell Hits Canyon Diablo“. Der erste Satz schon war klassischer Leonard, playing it cool:

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„They called it Canyon Diablo, but for no apparent reason. Like everything else it had advantages and disadvantages, good points and bad ons, depending on the time of the day, the season oft he year, or who happend tob e occupying the canyon at a given time.“

Natürlich will man wissen, was es mit diesem so normalen Canyon mit dem teuflischen Namen denn auf sich hat, natürlich steigt man in eine solche Geschichte ein. Als erste seiner Geschichten veröffentlich wurde 1951 „Trail of the Apache“. Der Schluss: „And along the Gila, the war drums are silent again. But on frontier station, you don’t relax. For though they are less in numbers, they are still Apaches.“

Leonard hatte einen Job als Werbetexter für den Chevrolet-Account bei Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Detroit, musste seine Familie ernähren und realisierte: „I realized that I was going to have to get up at five in the morning if I wanted to write fiction … I made a rule that I had to get something down on paper before I could put the water on fort he coffee. Know where you’re going and then put the water on. That seemed to work because I did it for most oft he fifties.“

Besonders die Apachen hatten es ihm angetan, seine ersten fünf Geschichten handeln von ihnen und der US-Kavallerie, spielen im Arizona der 1870er und 90er. Immer bleibt Leonard knapp und tough. Ganze 15 Seiten hat „Three-Ten to Yuma“, aus dem Regisseur Delmer Daves einen Film machte, der unter Kennern „High Noon“ lässig aussticht. Jahre später, auf der Suche nach einem Filmstoff, entwickelte er „Valdez Is Coming“ (1970) aus seiner Geschichte „Only Good Ones“. Da hatte er längst seine Stimme gefunden, und meinte im Nachtrag: „Look what I got away with. In the final scene of Valdez there is no shootout, not even in the film verson. Writing this one I found I could loosen up, concentrate on bringing the characters to life, and ignore some oft he conventions found in most Western stories.“ (Zitiert aus dem Vorwort von Gregg Sutter, Leonards langjährigem Rechercheur, zu „The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard“, 2007)

Hier ein Link auf die Erstveröffentlichung seiner Schreibregeln: „Ten Rules of Writing.“ Wie man es anstellt, all die „Hoopedoodles“ zu vermeiden und so zu schreiben, dass man als Autor möglichst verschwindet, in der New York Times vom 16. Juli 2001.

 

Und nun die Zitate. Seine Western zuerst.

 

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The Boy Who Smiled (Westernstory, 1953)

„When Mickey Segundo was fourteen, he tracked a man almost two hundred miles – from the Jicarllia Subagency down into the malpais.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bounty Hunters (1953)

„Dave Flynn stretched his boots over the footrest and his body eased lower into the barber chair.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Law At Randado (1954)

„At times during the morning, he would think of the man named Kirby Frye.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thetalltdvd.180The Captives (1955)

„He could hear the stagecoach, the faraway creaking and the muffled rumble of it, and he was thinking: It’s almost an hour early. Why should it be it left Contention on schedule?“

verfilmt als: The Tall T (Regie: Budd Boetticher, 1957, dt. Um Kopf und Kragen)

„Brennan (Randolph Scott): „If you don’t think anything of yourself, how do you expect anbody else to?
“ Usher: „I’m going to have me a place someday. I Thought about it, I thought about it a lot. A man should have something of his own. Something to belong to … to be proud of.
“ Chink: „I had me a quiet woman once. Outside, she was a quiet as Sunday. But inside, wild as mountain scenery.“ 
Brennan: I’m going to finish this. If they come, I’m going to finish this once and for all.“ Mrs. Mims: „Oh, but why?“ Brennan: „Some things a man can’t ride around.““

 

310toyuma-dvd-1803:10 to Yuma (Regie Delmer Daves, 1957, dt. Zähl bis drei und bete)

„Wade (Glenn Ford): „Well, the street seems to be clear and everybody going inside. I guess they figure a storm is blowing up, huh?““

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leora Dana und Glenn Ford in „Zähl bis drei und bete“

3:10 To Yuma (The Original) Trailer:

 

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Escape From Five Shadows (1956)

„Karla hesitated in the doorway of the adobe, then pushed open the screen door and came out into the sunlight as she heard again the faint, faraway sound of the wagon; and now she looked of toward the stand of willows that formed a windbreak along the north side of the yard, her eyes half closed in the sun glare and not moving from the motionless line of trees.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Stand At Saber River (1959)

„Paul Cable sat hunched forward at the edge of the pine shade, his boots crossed and his elbows supported on his knees.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hombre (1961)

„At first I wasn’t sure at all where to begin.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

verfilmt als: Hombre (Regie: Martin Ritt, 1967, dt. Man nannte ihn Hombre)

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Diane Cilento (Jessie) und Paul Newman (John Russell) in „Man nannte ihn Hombre“

„Jessie: „Well what do you figure your headstone is gonna tell?
 Russell (Paul Newman): „Shot dead“, probably.
 Jessie: „Don’t people like you. Mr. Russell?“ 
Russell: „It only takes one that doesn’t.
“ Russell: „And try not to puke. You may have to lay in it for a long time.“ 
Jesse: „What are you doing her?“ Braden (Cameron Mitchell): „Going bad, honey.“ 
Russell: „If he tries to leave with nothing, shoot him once. If he takes the money, shoot him twice. Andi f he picks up the water, you empty your gun!““

 

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Valdez Is Coming (Regie: Edwin Sherrin, 1970, dt. Valdez)

„He didn’t have to stay here. He didn’t have to be a town constable. He didn’t have to work for the stage company. He didn’t have to listen to Mr. Beaudry and Mr. Malson and smile when they said those things. He didn’t have a wife or any kids. He didn’t have land that he owned. He could be anywhere he wanted.
Listen, I’m going to get your horse and put you on it.
I can’t … I can’t ride. 
Sure you can. Ride to Señor Tanner and tell him Valdez is coming. 
You hear what I say?
Valdez is coming.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Kidd  (Regie John Struges, 1972, dt. Sinola)

„Simms: „I know it’s a crappy deal, buddy, but that’s all you got!
“ Priest: „Today ist he feast of St. James the Apostle, one oft he first martyrs. I well tell the people to pray for him for his strength and courage. St. James was beheaded rather than deny his faith.“ 
Kidd (Clint Eastwood): „You wouldn’t have a gun around her would you, padre?““

 

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Gunsights (1979)

„The gentleman from Harper’s Weekly, who didn’t know mesquite beans from goat shit, looked up from his reference collection of back issues and said, ‘I’ve got it!’“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Tonto Woman (Westernstory, 1982)

„A time would come, within a few years, when Ruben Vega would go to the church in Benson, kneel in the confessional, and say to the priest, „Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been thirty-seven years since my last confession … Since then I have fornicated with many women, maybe eight hundred. No, not that many, considering my work. Maybe six hundred only.“

 

 

Diese Slam-Bang-Geschichte über eine von den Apachen gekidnappte Frau, die von ihrem Mann verstoßen wurde – John Fords „The Searchers“ lassen grüßen –  und in einer Hütte in der Wüste lebt, wurde im spanischen Almeria von Daniel Barber verfilmt und war 2008 als Kurzfilm für den Oscar nominiert.

 

 

Tonto Woman Trailer for Daniel Barber“s Oscar nominated short film.

 

desperato180Desperado (Regie: Virgil W. Vogel, 1987); Based on the Elmore Leonard Original Screenplay „Duell McCall”

„McCall: „You’re not the law. There is no law! You’re just another man with a gun.“ 
Whaley: „Hands on the table! Right one first. That’s the one with the thumb on the left.““

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Big Bounce (1969)

„They were watching Ryan beat up the Mexican crew leader on 16 mm Commercial Ektachrome.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Moonshine War (1969)

„The war began the first Saturday in June 1931, when Mr. Baylor sent a boy up to Son Martin’s place to tell him they were coming to raid his still.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Majestyk (1974)

„This morning they were here for the melons: about sixty of them waiting patiently by the two stake trucks and the old blue-painted school bus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Majestyk Trailer

 

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Fifty-Two Pickup (1974)

„He could not get used to going to the girl’s apartment.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Pick-Up trailer

 

 

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Swag (1976)

„There was a photograph of Frank in an ad that ran in the Detroit Free Press and showed all the friendly salesmen at Red Bowers Chevrolet.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unknown Man No. 89 (1977)

„A friend of Ryan’s said to him one time, „Yeah, but at least you don’t take any shit from anybody.““

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hunted (1977)

„This is the news story that appeared the next day, in the Sunday edition of the Detroit Free Press, page one: FOUR TOURISTS DIE IN ISRAELI HOTEL FIRE Tel Aviv, March 20 (AP) – A predawn fire gutted an eight story resort hotel Saturday, killing four tourists and injuring 46 others, including guests who leaped from upper-story windows to escape the flames.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Switch (1978)

„Mickey said, „I’ll drive. I really like to.““

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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City Primeval (1980)

„In the matter of Alvin B. Guy, Judge of Recorder’s Court, City of Detroit: The investigation of the Judicial Tenure Commission found the respondent guilty of misconduct in office and conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gold Coast (1980)

„One day Karen DiCilia put a few observations together and realized her husband Frank was sleeping with a real estate woman in Boca.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Split Images (1981)

„In the winter of 1981 a multimillionaire by the name of Robinson Daniels shot a Haitian refugee who had broken into his home in Palm Beach.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cat Chaser (1982)

„Moran’s first impression of Nolen Tyler: He looked like a high risk, the kind of guy who falls asleep smoking in bed.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stick (1983)

„Stick said he wasn’t going if they had to pick up anything. Rainy said no, there wasn’t any product in the deal; all they had to do was drop a bag. Stick said, „And the guy’s giving you five grand?“ „Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like a three-and-a-half million dollar home!“  Katie said, „Haven’t you ever heard of cholesterol?““Yeah“, said Stick, „it’s the stuff they put in red meat that makes it taste good.“ „What’s a boomerang that dosen’t come back? It’s a Stick.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

29.j180.pgLaBrava (1983)

Seinem Agenten H.N. Swanson gewidmet, der ihn auf George V.Higgins‘ „The Friends of Eddy Coyle“ aufmerksam gemacht hatte: „This one’s for Swanie, bless his heart.“
 Erster Satz: „He’s been taking pictures three years, look at the work“, Maurice said. „Here’s this guy. Look at the pose, the expression. Who’s he remind you of?“ (…) „You want me to say Diane Arbus?“ „I want you to say Diane Arbus, that would be nice. I want you to say Duane Michaels, Danny Lyon. I want you to say Winogrand, lee Freedlander. You want to go back a few years? I’d like very much for you to say Walker Evans, too“

Im ersten Kapitel: „This guy’s for real, and he’s gonna make it. I guarantee you.“ „Is he presentable?“ „Nice looking guy, late thirties. Dark hair, medium height, on the thin side. No style, but yeah, he’s presentable. Evelyn said, I see them come in with no socks on, I know they’ve got a portfolio full of social commentary.“ „He’s not a hippy“, Maurice said. „You know the guys that guard the President? The Secret Sercice guys? That’s what he used to be, one of those.“ „Really?“ Evelyn seemed to like it. „Well, they’re always neat looking, wear suits and ties.“ „Yeah, he used to have style“, Maurice said. „But now, he quit getting his hair cut at the barbershop, dresses very casual. But you watch him. Joe walks down the street he knows everything that’s going on. He picks faces out oft he crowd, faces that interest him. It’s a habit, he can’t quit doing it … Now he spots an undesirable, a suspicious looking character, all he wants to do i stake the guys picture.“She said, „You know, that’s a lovely shirt.“ Then surprised him, lowered her sunglases … „ I don’t believe I’ve ever clled a man’s shirt lovely before, but it is. I love hibiscus.“„At the gallery they sip wine and look at my pictures. They say things like, I see his his approach to art as retaliation, a frontal attack against the assumption of a technological society.“ „They say, It’s obvious he sees his work as exorcism, his forty days in the desert. Or another one, They’re selfportraits. He sees himself as dispossessed, unassimilated.“ „The review in the paper said, The aesthetic sub-text of his work is the systematic exposure of artistic pretention. I thought I was just taking pictures.“ … „I heard one guy at the gallery – it was his his wife who said I was dispossessed, and the guy said, I think he takes pictures to make a book, and anything else is fringe. I would‘ve kissed the guy, but it might’ve ruined his perspective.“ Jean Shaw said, studying a print, „They try to pose, and not knowing how to reveal themselves.“ He liked that. That wasn’t bad. „Your style ist he absence of style. Would you say?“ He said, „No tricky angles“, because he didn’t know if he had a style or not. „I’m not good at tricky angles.“ They went into the bedroom and undressed without a word to make love in dimmed silence … Joe LaBrava believing this was unbelievable. Look at him. He was making love to Jean Shaw, he was honest-to-God making love to Jean Shaw in real life. He didn’t want to be watching, he wanted to be overwhelmed by it …

… What he almost said to her when she said, „What do you see when you look at me?“, was: „The first woman I ever fell in love with, when I was twelve years old.“(150 Seiten weiter) She said, „Joe, were you really only twelve years old?“ He had to take another moment, She was serious now and he had to adjust. He said, „Jean, you’re so good you could act your way out of a a safe deposit box.“ She seemed to smile. „Who was is said that?“ „I think it was James Garner doing Philip Marlowe. But it‘s true. You‘re even better now than you used to be, and you were my favorite as far back as I can remember.“ Zehn Namen: Joseph „Joe“ LaBrava, Maurice Zola, Cundo Rey, Jean Shaw, Richard Nobles, Lana Mendoza, Joe Stella, Geraldo Rivera, Paco Boza, David Vega.

 

Alf Mayer, culturmag.de 31.08.2013

 

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