Olds, your post forces me to publicly confess to something I'm sure anyone who has known me for any amount of time is already aware of, but nevertheless, I have tried to hide. I have no culture. I am an uncultured lout. I do not read fiction. I read tons of history, biographies, current events, political subjects. I’ve tried to read THE GREAT GATSBY and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS at least 25 times since I was about 15. I’ve never gotten through either one. I have read biographies of both Fitzgerald and Hemingway and a couple books on the lives of writers and artists in Paris in the Twenties. Other than, of course, CATCHER IN THE RYE, around age 13 and a couple of Grisham novels, the only other novels I can remember reading all the way are TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, CASTLE KEEP and CATCH 22. I’ve read Heller’s masterpiece maybe 7 or 8 times and pick it up a few times year to thumb through, which usually ends with me laughing so hard I’m crying (which is why I had at last 3 copies confiscated by teachers in 11th grade when I read it the first time).
Now, after I denigrate the horrific idea of Frank Sinatra being in a Western, you tell me that he is and that the screenplay was written by Joseph Heller. I can’t say the number of times I’ve turned DIRTY DINGUS MCGEE off or changed the channel, mainly because of the name of the film. I do consider Sinatra a superb actor with a stage presence that stuns with its intensity and naturalness. Now, I HAVE to find and see this film that all my instincts tell me to run from. I’ll let you know how it is, Olds – particularly if it’s really bad. Thanks.