Christianna Brand, ripped off

sis-greenfordanger-6The other day I saw an episode of the Father Brown TV programme from the BBC entitled “The Rod of Asclepius” — the central premise of which is taken directly from Christianna Brand’s Green for Danger.  I looked quite carefully and could not see anything in the credits in which they acknowledged this. My knowledge of the British legal system is not what it should be, but if I were administering Christianna Brand’s literary estate, I’d be calling my lawyer to get a lawsuit started.

p03dk434Did they think nobody would notice?


7 thoughts on “Christianna Brand, ripped off

  1. lesblatt says:

    Speaking of uncredited film ripoffs from otherwise unassociated books, how about Alfred Hitchcock’s apparent ripoff for his movie version of Strangers on a Train of the climactic scene of Edmund Crispin’s The Moving Toyshop? That involved a final confrontation on a dangerously fast-moving carousel; almost every detail in the movie appears to be taken from Crispin’s book, but there is no credit (not even in IMDB) to Crispin. It’s one of the most memorable sequences in Hitchcock’s movie (never came from Highsmith!) and also in Crispin’s book.

    • Hi Les – in the case of the Crispin, Hitchcock did in fact purchase the right to the novel. As for the father Brown rip-off, that sounds pretty egregious (love the Chestern, can’t stand the TV show however) – is it as close as MILLER’S CROSSING is to Hammett’s THE GLASS KEY?

      • Noah Stewart says:

        It’s not complete in every detail — and it’s difficult to be precise without unnecessarily giving away Brand’s plot. But the object in the operating room that looks similar to something it’s not is dissimilar for the same reason, and I hope that will only make sense to someone who knows why the book’s title is “Green for Danger”.

      • lesblatt says:

        Glad to hear that Hitchcock did purchase it, Sergio, but I’m more than a little surprised that no credit AT ALL was given. IMDB credits Raymond Chandler, a second writer (unfamiliar to me), and – uncredited – Ben Hecht with the script for Strangers. No mention of Crispin.

      • No, that’s right – Chandler wrote the original draft though little of it was used in the shooting script. As only a small portion of the Crispin book was used, it was not necessary to provide on-screen credit, though the contracts reflected that the rights to the novel were purchased and material used. This was quite common at the time. IMDb only lists the official credits a lot of the time (it is hardly comprehensive, though detailedly virtue of being crowd-sourced).

  2. JJ says:

    Yeah, I remember this one, it’s so ridiculously blatant as to be completely beyond contesting. Still, since the makers of the Father Brown TV series don’t appear to have read the Father Brown stories, maybe we should be grateful of this as evidence that they do at least have some experience of any classic crime fiction…

  3. […] For all its relative hoariness — even Father Brown stole this idea, though that’s not exactly a revelation — I still think there’s a great story to be told utilising this method.  One has […]

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