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Crime Scenes: Donald Westlake on Film

May 12 — May 14, 2017

Brooklyn-born Donald E. Westlake published nearly a hundred novels under various pseudonyms during his half-century career, the most influential being the hard-boiled Parker novels. Over the years, the hallmarks of a Westlake book never changed: He was a dedicated craftsman, writing clean, unfussy, powerfully effective prose, weaving complicated and surprising plots, and always letting a deep interest in (and often amusement at) human behavior drive the action. His prose has been the font for many and varied works of cinema. This program brings together the most successful and interesting films based on Westlake’s books, such as Point Blank (1967) (starring peak Lee Marvin), The Hot Rock (1972) (with Robert Redford), The Outfit (1973) (with Robert Duvall), Cops and Robbers (1973), and Jean-Luc Godard’s Made in U.S.A. (1966). It also includes two for which he wrote screenplays: the 1987 original The Stepfather and his 1990 Oscar-nominated adaptation of Jim Thompson’s The Grifters.

Organized by guest curator Levi Stahl, Associate Film Curator Eric Hynes, and Chief Curator David Schwartz.