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April 1991


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Apr 91 10:13:41 CDT
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> Because it was directed by Terence Mann, Manhunter looks like an
> extended Miami Vice episode.  Brian Cox's cell is stark white, no
> Multiple Miggs or any other unsavory psychopaths in the vicinity.
> Another flaw in Manhunter is what it loses in translation from novel to
> film.  In the novel the serial killer, Francis Dolarhyde, gets a strong
> characterization that I at least found sympathetic.  In the film he's
> just the menacing killer.  Any reactions?
First of all, Manhunter was directed by Michael Mann.  Second, Dolarhyde was
more than an menacing killer in the film.  A lot of time was devoted to his
romance with Reba, the blind woman.  There's also the whole doppelganger theme
between him and Graham, the detective.  And finally, the film explains
Dollarhyde's  actions in terms of needing to see himself loved in the eyes of
others (by placing shards of a broken mirror on his female victim's eyes, for
instance)--not an altogether removed need for most of us within a
visually-oriented culture.
I wasn't too crazy about the film until I read a piece by Roger Simon called
"Primary Sensory Intake" which discusses Manhunter in terms of postmodernism
and film noir.  It's a good article that opens up the issue of seeing that
perhaps remains implicit in the film.  Article appears in USC's _The
Spectator_ 8.1 (1987), and our own Jeremy Butler got a footnote in it.
Steve Carr
Dept of RTF