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Alistair Maclean's 'The Way to Dusty Death'


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#1 Formula Once

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 12:28

In 1973 there were plans to make a film about Alistair Maclean's book The Way to Dusty Death. Jackie Stewart got involved but the project was canned, which given the storyline probably saved us from another horrible "racing movie". Now I just found out that in 1995 a 240 minutes film/mini series was produced in Europe based on the same book. Does anyone know more about it or has anyone seen this? If this has been discussed in antother thread I wasn't able to find it.

Edited by Formula Once, 05 December 2009 - 12:29.


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#2 Phil Rainford

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 12:43

http://www.amazon.co...0...6793&sr=1-1

Here is a poster of the film :)


PAR

#3 alansart

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 12:52

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0131130/

http://uk.rottentoma...ticles/1231923/

Sounds dreadful!

Edited by alansart, 05 December 2009 - 12:54.


#4 john aston

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 14:12

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0131130/

http://uk.rottentoma...ticles/1231923/

Sounds dreadful!

The book was so bad that it is impossible fully to describe just how awful it was. AM seemed to assume that GP cars were fitted both with speedometers and headlights I seem to recall..............

#5 B Squared

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 14:19

This is the paperback version's cover, printed in 1974.

Posted Image

Formula Once, I too remember the talk of a movie during this time frame, but none of the details. B²

john, the artist, at least, had a clue. This is certainly no Where Eagles Dare or Guns of Navarone

Edited by B Squared, 05 December 2009 - 14:31.


#6 Rob29

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 15:30

I have this on VHS tape recorded off TV.I did not realise it was ever released for the cinema-possobly not in UK.Was certainly poor -only racing scenes involved what were called Prosports-GT cars at Zandvoot & Mallory Park.

#7 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 16:14

Regardless of whether or not a reader knew the first thing about any form of motor sport, this book was

TOTAL KRAPPP!!!!

#8 Terry Walker

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 16:33

Alistair Maclean lost his way after Puppet On a Chain. He was never much good after that book.

There was quite a wave of British thriller writers in that era - Desmond Bagley was another. Duncan Kyle, Geoffrey Jenkins from South Africa too. Early Jack Higgins, specially his four cop novels set in Leeds. I have to say, though, I've never read a really plausible thriller with a motor racing background. Not to say there hasn't been one, just that I haven't read one. Bob Judd was possibly about the best, a sort of Dick Francis on wheels.

I'm amazed that I remember this stuff, but I've probably read close to all of Higgins, Maclean, Bagley, Jenkins, and a fair dollop of Kyle.



#9 Allan Lupton

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 16:34

So does that make it Krapp's Last Tape?
:lol:


#10 red stick

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 16:40

This is the paperback version's cover, printed in 1974.

Posted Image


Kind of says it all, doesn't it. Every motor racing critic's misconceptions about the sport conveniently located in a 5x7 space.

:rolleyes:


#11 LittleChris

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 22:29

Is it Ronnie Mutch Kraapp though ?

#12 Terry Walker

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 01:10

UK Fontana paperback, 1979 impression:

Posted Image

#13 red stick

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 17:31

Alistair Maclean lost his way after Puppet On a Chain. He was never much good after that book.

There was quite a wave of British thriller writers in that era - Desmond Bagley was another. Duncan Kyle, Geoffrey Jenkins from South Africa too. Early Jack Higgins, specially his four cop novels set in Leeds. I have to say, though, I've never read a really plausible thriller with a motor racing background. Not to say there hasn't been one, just that I haven't read one. Bob Judd was possibly about the best, a sort of Dick Francis on wheels.

I'm amazed that I remember this stuff, but I've probably read close to all of Higgins, Maclean, Bagley, Jenkins, and a fair dollop of Kyle.


Read a fair amount of these in my youth, particularly Higgins and Len Deighton. As for Maclean, it occurs to me that the only book of his I ever read was H.M.S. Ulysses, which IIRC was pretty good.

#14 red stick

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 17:33

UK Fontana paperback, 1979 impression:

Posted Image


It's a good thing Cevert is in front of the unpleasantness . . .

 ;)




#15 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 18:02

It's a good thing Cevert is in front of the unpleasantness . . .

;)

Looks like a good 80p's worth to me...

#16 Barry Boor

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 09:00

I can confirm the F.1 cars with headlights fact.

When I reached that point in the book I stopped reading it...... utter codswallop!

#17 GD66

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:14


It's a good thing Cevert is in front of the unpleasantness . . .

;)
[/quote]

Cevert ? Isn't that Chris Amon in wee Jackie's Tyrell ?


#18 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:12

Alastair Mcleans early books were very good reading but the later ones were trying to be movie scripts.Though some were still worth reading, but not a patch on 'Guns'. Actually the basic book plot was not bad but his total lack of research into motor racing was boggling. And I would suspect the film was god awful.

#19 rallen

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:24

That book looks fantastic! are you sure it's not one of those its so bad its good books?

Saw an interview with Alistair once, He was in his mansion by the swimming pool and he was saying how unhappy he was and unfullfilled and how the money was pointless. It was actually quite moving.

I don't think any of his books are still published now are they?

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#20 Glengavel

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 13:29

That book looks fantastic! are you sure it's not one of those its so bad its good books?

Saw an interview with Alistair once, He was in his mansion by the swimming pool and he was saying how unhappy he was and unfullfilled and how the money was pointless. It was actually quite moving.

I don't think any of his books are still published now are they?


MacLean was never convinced of his abilities as a writer. I think a few of his books were recently reissued - my local library has some copies.

I remember that when "The Way To Dusty Death" came out it was serialised (in a severely abridged form) in the Glasgow Herald, with illustrations that featured a very JYS-like representation of Harlow. I vaguely remember the Stewart-as-film-star rumours, but looking back, the idea of Jackie rampaging through the film, coshing villains, pistol-whipping young women and slapping sense into rebellious teenagers boggles the mind.

If you want another bad film of a MacLean book, try 'Caravan To Vaccares'.

#21 sonar

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 13:37

I'm starting to get terribly curious about this book.
Can it really be thát bad....?!
I have to read it now!
I'll let you know what I think of it. (if I can finish it.....)

#22 pertti_jarla

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 14:10

Has anybody checked out "The Fast One" by Robert Daley, any good? He definitely should know his subject, but for some incomprehensible reason this is also a book about romance and sex..

#23 Terry Walker

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 14:44

I've got a more or less complete set of Mclean, all second-hand paperbacks running at around $2 a copy. His early ones were his best, he concentrated on tightly plotted fast-paced thrillers with backgrounds he understood, more or less. Later, having to produce a new book each year meant he ran out of first hand background and things went downhill. But so did his plotting, too. His early stuff made quite okay action movies: Fear is the Key, Bear Island, Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare and so on. I liked The Golden Rendezvous (wonderfully preposterous, but very fast and furious) and Endless Night, one or two others. Dusty Death is mainly about drug smuggling.

For really, really bad, try Santorini, or Goodbye California. Eek.

Edited by Terry Walker, 07 December 2009 - 14:46.


#24 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 15:54

As a kid I had a respondent conditioning to all pictures Formula 1, especially a Lauda helmet. When I saw this book cover in our library I couldn't resist. As a teenager I could appreciate the contents.
In Dutch it was called "Valse start" (False start).

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#25 Paul Hurdsfield

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 15:57

Regardless of whether or not a reader knew the first thing about any form of motor sport, this book was

TOTAL KRAPPP!!!!



Now come on Mr Nye get down off that fence and say what you really think  ;)

#26 rallen

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 17:22

Damn, I am going to have to try and find and buy this book now, its no good, I blame you lot!

Slightly OT but is there actually any good racing novels?

#27 Formula Once

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 17:59

Has anybody checked out "The Fast One" by Robert Daley, any good? He definitely should know his subject, but for some incomprehensible reason this is also a book about romance and sex..


Don't know, but his Cars at Speed is a fascinating portrait of the sport written by a clearly intrigued outsider. In many ways better and more interesting than some books by so called insiders. Anyone who doesnt have it should.

#28 Formula Once

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 18:02

As a kid I had a respondent conditioning to all pictures Formula 1, especially a Lauda helmet. When I saw this book cover in our library I couldn't resist. As a teenager I could appreciate the contents.
In Dutch it was called "Valse start" (False start).

Posted Image



Yes Arjan, I have that copy as well. A very attractive cover then and thus an utter dissapointing read even more so. Remember De Meute (The Pack) too, written by some German lady? Equally horrible.

Edited by Formula Once, 07 December 2009 - 18:03.


#29 Phil Rainford

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 18:10

It's a good thing Cevert is in front of the unpleasantness . . .

;)


Cevert ? Isn't that Chris Amon in wee Jackie's Tyrell ?



Canada 1973?

PAR




#30 Tim Murray

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 18:25

Slightly OT but is there actually any good racing novels?

There are some suggestions in these earlier threads:

Good motor sport fiction?

Motorsport Fiction



#31 Formula Once

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 18:29

Canada 1973?

PAR


Looks like a 71 Tyrrell to me...

#32 Chezrome

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 18:40

I can confirm the F.1 cars with headlights fact.

When I reached that point in the book I stopped reading it...... utter codswallop!


I remember reading that when I was twelve. Innocent as I was, I assumed it was a fault in the translation...



#33 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 20:36

... written by some German lady?

Heike Doutine



#34 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 20:38

Slightly OT but is there actually any good racing novels?


"My terrible joys" by some Italian writer, forgot his name.


#35 red stick

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 21:08

Cevert ? Isn't that Chris Amon in wee Jackie's Tyrell ?


Right you are! Yet another fan I suppose who knew that in the right car Amon could . . .


#36 Barry Boor

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 21:09

Not wishing to go too far O.T. but if the unknown writer of 'My Terrible Joys' had been less inclined to put pressure on his employees, he may well have had fewer terrible joys!

#37 Formula Once

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 21:25

Damn, I am going to have to try and find and buy this book now, its no good, I blame you lot!

Slightly OT but is there actually any good racing novels?


I guess Jean Graton still rules :)

#38 Kein1275

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:09

Wow! I wish I have the opportunity to find this incredible book in Buenos Aires, but I doubt it...

Interesting cover with that mess between teammates driving two different painted Tyrrells (Ken should have been so angry!) and I guess if that is Jackies with Amon´s borrowed helmet or just Chris at the wheel of Stewart´s car....

Maybe the Coulthard - Schumacher helmet thing from Monaco 1996 has his roots among these lines!

Regards to all, Kein.

#39 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:56

Not wishing to go too far O.T. but if the unknown writer of 'My Terrible Joys' had been less inclined to put pressure on his employees, he may well have had fewer terrible joys!

Another 'what if' of motorsport history. ;-)

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#40 sonar

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 16:27

Well, I read it.
In English to make sure nothing got lost in translation.
What can I say?
It's not a very imaginative story and McLean clearly didn't do much research before writing this book.
But I liked reading it anyway.
You just shouldn't take it too seriously. It's fiction.
Most people like James Bond or Michel Vaillant and, well, those books are almost ridiculously fictional. Doesn't seem to bother most people, though.
Just imagine: a formula one driver who is also a secret agent: if only there were such a man... :blush:

#41 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 17:42

Just imagine: a formula one driver who is also a secret agent: if only there were such a man... :blush:

Hi!

#42 retriever

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 19:38

Maclean's finest writing can be found in his first book, HMS Ulysses. After that it's a downhill story.

#43 red stick

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 21:09

Maclean's finest writing can be found in his first book, HMS Ulysses. After that it's a downhill story.


I just reread this over the holidays. A great story, and well-told. Now I need to find a copy of The Cruel Sea, which I've never read.


#44 MCS

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 21:18

I just reread this over the holidays. A great story, and well-told. Now I need to find a copy of The Cruel Sea, which I've never read.


There are usually copies on eBay, Mark.

A great book - Monsarrat's best novel in my opinion.

#45 retriever

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 22:28

I just reread this over the holidays. A great story, and well-told. Now I need to find a copy of The Cruel Sea, which I've never read.



Yes, the Kapok Kid and the way he describes the ship's final plunge into the seas is shudderingly eerie and chilling.

Edited by retriever, 07 January 2010 - 16:19.


#46 red stick

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 22:35

There are usually copies on eBay, Mark.

A great book - Monsarrat's best novel in my opinion.


Thanks. Actually the local library appears to have at least one copy. I'm a sucker for good naval fiction.


#47 isynge

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 22:55

Thanks. Actually the local library appears to have at least one copy. I'm a sucker for good naval fiction.


On the naval fiction topic I'm currently revisiting John Wingate's "Frigate", "Carrier", "Submarine" trilogy from the 1980s - a perfect and moving counterpoint to the vaguely contemporary Tom Clancy fodder most often recalled by that period (and which gets counterforce coercion but I dangerously digress).

Personally I didn't mind "The Way to Dusty Death" - I approached it knowing it was likely to be nonsense - and it was - but it's not a bad read so long as you're taking your blood pressure meds and appreciate that it's of its time. What's probably interesting from a historical perspective is that it's an interesting insight into how authors and publishers interpreted the public feeling about motor sport - hence the blood sport like covers to go with the absurd plot. At risk of sounding all a bit post-modern, understanding the intertextuality of the past is important too.

Ultimately though, is there anything that bad about absurd motor racing related fiction? I love Michel Vaillant now but don't try to read them as truth - and if someone comes to motor sport through fiction, and discovers that sometimes the fact can be even better, should we really complain about the roots of this?

#48 Samas M.

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:24

I seem to recall that when the book was originally published that Maclean said in interviews that it was intended to be the basis of a movie screenplay. The idea was that a starring role in this might have persuaded JYS to retire before he got himself killed. :rolleyes:

Edited by Séamas M., 07 January 2010 - 01:24.


#49 retriever

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:03

I seem to recall that when the book was originally published that Maclean said in interviews that it was intended to be the basis of a movie screenplay. The idea was that a starring role in this might have persuaded JYS to retire before he got himself killed. :rolleyes:



Were not most of Maclean's later books derived from screenplays - basically turning the creative process on it's head. Or am I wrong.

#50 Stephen W

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:24

Were not most of Maclean's later books derived from screenplays - basically turning the creative process on it's head. Or am I wrong.


Pity they didn't use ICE STATION ZEBRA as the basis of the film rather than the Hollywood pap they ended up filming!

I suspect most of the later Maclean books were written as screenplays or at least outlines of films.

:wave: