Johnny's movies

Charlie Mortdecai, attraction at first sight

Posted in Uncategorized by Anna Maria Polidori on May 6, 2014

The Mortdecai Trilogy: story of a book and his writer

 

We all know Johnny Depp loves to reading and collecting books so badly.

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We have seen him recently in action at the Bauman Rare Books Bookstore located in NYC.

Being an avid reader… What does it mean? It means at time reading unusual authors and books, sometimes not very well-known to a large public. Just for pleasure of knowledge.

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Courtesy: Lory Depp Girl

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Courtesy: Lory Depp Girl

Often, these books will be picked up by Johnny for a potential good movie as recently happened for The Mortdecai Trilogy

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Johnny’s transformation for Mortdecai. Blond and sophisticated- Courtesy: Lory Depp Girl

 

or as it will be called on screen: The Charles Mortdecai Trilogy on theaters this next february 6th 2015.

 

 

Kyril Bonfiglioli Imagethe writer of this trilogy was a great admirer of P.G.Wodehouse Image and, well it helped a lot I think.

Yes because if Wodehouse’s characters are mainly joyous and stories funny, in this case we have to cope with a real crime story where there are homicides, dishonest actions, very dishonest ones trust me, and well humor is dark and very sad. The reader need to understanding the profound and dishonest character of this rich and snob art dealer who wouldn’t hesitate for a second of killing his mother for saving his own life: Charlie Mortdecai.

Someone without heart or with a VERY debatable heart.

Irony, funny moments, and eccentric characters as the butler is (in this case not more intelligent than Mortdecai but executor of many of his orders, including murdering people) or Mrs. Spoon, can be helpful for a reader maybe not too much involved with crime stories.

Bonfiglioli was an eccentric and quiet particular man. His biography is pretty interesting and it can explains why in a way he tried to giving the life at a sort of “alter-ego” much more extreme than him of course, Charlie Mortdecai.

 

Bonfiglioli  firstly died at just 56 years in 1985. Yes, pretty young but, consolation, in this short time on Earth he lived a lot. And it was good.

True: he hadn’t written a lot of books apart The Mortdecai Trilogy.

I want to remember The haunted school.

The Mortdecai Trilogy remains the book had given to him more “fame” although, irony, Mortdecai didn’t never become a bestseller.
Why? Many reasons. Firstly it was published by the little publishing house Black Spring Press. First editions can be considered expensive.

I would want also to add Bonfiglioli wrote a previous book called: All the tea in China involving a Charlie Mortdecai‘s ancestor: Karli Van Kliff. 

So back to Bonfiglioli‘s biography.

He had to be a funny man as also Charlie Mortdecai is.

Bonfiglioli was born from an italo-slovene book dialer man and an english lady. He served in the Army and read English at Oxford. Later he became an antiquates expert and art dealer. The same work of our protagonist, Charlie Mortdecai a middle-age beauty man. But although his glorious past in the Army it seems that Bonfiglioli acted in this case in a dubious legality.

He loved women so badly, drunk a lot and ate too much. For avoiding to pay taxes, he lived between Ireland Image                                        

  and Jersey. Image 

What a man isn’t it true?

The big difference between Bonfiglioli and Mortdecai apart of course the little detail that Bonfiglioli wasn’t cruel at all but a pacific, maybe sly man ok, was the…richness. Yes Bonfiglioli has never been rich but always suffered of a certain poverty. Mortdecai, his opposite.

Do not be too much surprised that a character can have some peculiarities of the creator of the story.   Writers in a way  tell to us their personal story in so many ways.

Charles Dickens for example wrote continuously and compulsively in his books about himself and his sad story as a kid, and his evolution during the life, putting in all his books all the possible experience accumulated during the years, but constantly portraying himself. He had a great ego.

I am not so surprised it happened the same for Bonfiglioli‘s character Mortdecai. At least he had direct experiences with the topic he was talking about. And could act in third person. What a luxury isn’t it true?

Mortdecai‘s adventures for people in love for these stories is absolutely a stunning series. Of course for P.G. Wodehouse’s admirers as well, because in a way Bonfiglioli tried, although in a very different basis, to re-create the same irony.

Sure put in a situation of heavy crime as for example the one of a homicide I can feel the contrast and  the sadness and lack of humanity of the character, but from a dubious art dealer, able to do this world and the other you can’t pretend any morality. Ad humor must be accepted as a dark one because “acting” in a crime situation.

What maybe can destabilize the reader at first is that what he can thinks will happen in the plot…won’t happen. Mortdecai is in fact mainly surrounded by people with his same feelings and characteristics and brain.

In a way a sort of delusion.

 

Bonfiglioli‘s writing-style is not a joke for an italian still improving with english but I admit I enlarged a lot my dictionary in that sense reading Mortdecai.

Stimulating.

Anna Maria Polidori

 

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