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LornaHansonForbes

LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT, the 1928 film novelization.

18 posts in this topic

(Note posting with my phone here)

(also note, spoilers included, but That particular cat got let out of that particular bag soooo long ago)

A 1928 Novelization of the famous lost MGM film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT was re-printed a few years ago, Complete with an introduction and the photos that were in the original edition.

The author is someone by the name of MARIE COOLIDGE RASK, Very little is known of her and I have a strong feeling that this was a pseudonym based rather deliberately on Marys Roberts Reinhardt and Belloc Lowndes.

I ordered it off of Amazon and took it with me on “vacation”- Prepared the whole time, as I would be if I ever got the chance in real life to see the 1927 film, to be disappointed.

I have just finished reading it, and I have to say I was anything but disappointed. 

It was an ****absolutely fantastic book****, downright lyrically written in a charmingly antique fashion. The author has an absolute ball of the time describing the ruins of the haunted Balfour House To a point where the setting actually becomes a character itself. It’s rather like reading an old dark house thriller as written by George Eliot.

I saw the “London after midnight” reconstruction they did on TCMAnd it’s OK, but I just don’t think it captures what the actual film is really like. I am a hard-core fan though of MARK OF THE VAMPIRE and i’ve probably seen it upwards of 50 times, in spite of the fact that yes I know it doesn’t really make any sense in the end.

Both versions were (at least my intuition says about the 1927 version) a bit ludicrous and hard to believe. Side eye me if you want to for saying this, but this book actually lays out everything in a way that makes complete sense. Even what seems like the utter lunacy of hypnotizing a murderer and going through an elaborate charade is presented in such a way that, you know what?, I bought it.

Furthermore, the author takes advantage of the medium of the novel and pulls a few tricks on us that I Have to say, I found quite amusing.As in A KISS BEFORE DYING, We encounter a character twice but because reading a book does not involve visuals we don’t know that it’s the same person. There’s also a pretty clever two pages after the climax of the movie where the author really has the reader wondering whether or not this is all been a hallucination of the murderer’s

Whoever wrote this book has an absolute ball with the concepts of the occult, what acting is all about, fantasy,Psychology and the very notion of what in fact reality is.

It is as cleverly constructed a mystery novel as I have read, although I admit I went into it knowing exactly how it ended, but to be honest with you that will only make you appreciate how cleverly written this book is.

I apologize. It’s late and I’m all excited and kind of geeking out. I don’t think I said everything I meant to say about this, but I’m gonna go ahead and post this even though it doesn’t meet the usual LHF editorial standards

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I am as excited and fulfilled on reading this book as I would be where I able to in real life be able to finally see a fully restored version of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT or MARK OF THE VAMPIRE With all the alleged incestuous dirty stuff they cut out restored

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also to add - The female characters in the novelization are quite strong- the Heroine in distress is portrayed in a particularly sympathetic light; the maid- who is an IRRITATING comic relief figure on MARK OF THE VAMPIRE- is a no-nonsense cockney who is given a name and a brief- but charming romantic subplot with the Butler. 

Adding delightfully to the mystery is the cockney accented (long before the revelation that all is not as it seems, Which expounds on the mystery and had me laughing out loud throughout) “Bat Girl”- As she is referred to in this version, and not “Luna”, Although she is described exactly like Carol Borland would later appear in MARK OF THE VAMPIRE and even has the remarkable indoor flying scene where the reader is told that she has no arms but giant bats wings

SPOILER IN RE THE NOVELS ENDING 

This does not occur in the screenplay or finished film, But throughout the novel the action cuts back to two inspectors at Scotland yard discussing the Balfour case. They mention their best man is on it along with “Mooney and Looney”, his right hand men, From whom they are awaiting the signal to act.

It turns out that “Mooney and Looney” are policewomen who are undercover as the maid (Mooney) and the Bat Girl ( “Looney” being a play on “Luna.”)

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You never have to apologize about anything. Thanks for these postings about the book. I'm intrigued. I'm going to find it and read it.

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On 4/23/2019 at 11:05 AM, laffite said:

You never have to apologize about anything. Thanks for these postings about the book. I'm intrigued. I'm going to find it and read it.

ok, back on my computer where i can post images.

this is the edition i read:

413ncWiZCYL._SX260_.jpg

the cover art is terrible, BUT it was nicely bound (it actually bore a stamp on the last page that said "printed in Columbia, SC, April 3, 2019- so I guess someone has a printing press where they will make you a copy on order.)

the binding is solid and the pages are clean.

i ordered it off amazon and it was $20; I had the option to pay half that to read it on Kindle but I DESPISE KINDLE.

This edition has a foreword and afterword that, while cheesily written in the style of a horror matinee host, has a certain charm to it. it is also slightly annotated with some interesting notes, largely related to the various scenes from the photoplay which were included in the 1928 edition and are included here, but not in their original sequence- the author notes- because they had the print that betrayed the murderer's identity on page 90!)

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the book also includes a character that was cut from the film, including a production still with his picture- ROGER BALFOUR (the first murder victim) has a SON, HARRY, who is strangely protective of his sister (I'm telling you, this thing was RIFE with subtext) and rebels against THE BARONET, their guardian. When he wishes to return to BALFOUR HOUSE to live, he is soon after found on the grounds with two mysterious wounds in his neck...

04_londonaftermidnight_1927.jpg

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upon getting back from "vacation"- I watched most of the RECONSTRUCTION of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT that occasionally runs on (and was commissioned by?) TCM some time ago.

It was already disappointing (SO static, and uninvolving, moreso than it had to be if you ask me), but now that I've read the novelization, I find it doubly so.

If the reconstruction hues closer to BROWNING'S SCREENPLAY than the novelization does, then I have to say that the novel is superior- not missing a single chance to deepen the mystery or ground the whole ludicrous premise closer to something believable at every possible turn.

as a mystery novel, this book was outstanding. I can't imagine how it would feel to read it not knowing the ending, but to read it knowing the ending is to admire his cleverly it is constructed,

The author, without telling the reader, has THE INSPECTOR go undercover as an ARMY FRIEND of the Baron, and while you figure it out pretty quick- it's still an ingenious conceit. She also presents us with SO MANY ODDITIES throughout- the cockney speaking BATGIRL, an unexplained embrace between THE COLONEL and the heroine in THE ROSE GARDEN that leads us to think they are perhaps entering into a love affair is all we see of the scene where he brings her into his scheme; in the film he tells her outright in front of us.

there was truly something slightly SHAKESPEAREAN about the whole thing, all is false, all is fancy, all is madness and moonlight.

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On 4/23/2019 at 11:05 AM, laffite said:

You never have to apologize about anything. Thanks for these postings about the book. I'm intrigued. I'm going to find it and read it.

Me too.

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On 4/21/2019 at 5:34 PM, LornaHansonForbes said:

The author is someone by the name of MARIE COOLIDGE RASK [ ...etc... ]

Thank you, Lorna, for your continuing coverage of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. I've just ordered the book (after consulting my public library and the Library of Congress selection of audio books, but to no avail). I paid slightly more than you did ($25) and am looking forward to it. Amazon gives you a few pages with their LOOK INSIDE!!! feature. I already have a comment about the style but I want to read the whole thing before I say anything.  See the link below for information about the author. It seems she wrote two other novelizations of well=known movies (availability???) and there is something there about her origins and her name. There is a fairly new thread about reading and books here on the board and I am preparing a little enthusiasm of my own for that thread or maybe even here (coming soon,! ha). But I am sure I will be coming back HERE after reading this book. I'm so glad you posted on this.. Books can be very exciting, especially when making a discovery, as you have with LAM. I had to read your excellent posts here rather gingerly though since I don't want to know too awfully much before reading it myself. And thank you for hating Kindle. So do I. Bleah!!!!

http://desturmobed.blogspot.com/2019/02/marie-coolidge-rask.html

--

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...I don't know whether you can find it now, but some years back I came on to a quite amusing hoax on the Internet - An argument that has only recently become lost, and it was readily available in the Sixties and Seventies...with mock vintage Blackhawk Films ad for a 16MM version and ad for a Seventies film society showing!!!!!!!

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5 hours ago, Walter L. said:

...I don't know whether you can find it now, but some years back I came on to a quite amusing hoax on the Internet - An argument that has only recently become lost, and it was readily available in the Sixties and Seventies...with mock vintage Blackhawk Films ad for a 16MM version and ad for a Seventies film society showing!!!!!!!

I went to that website just the other day.

they had me going too.

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(Now I'm feeling all sorts of pressure for

14 hours ago, laffite said:

Thank you, Lorna, for your continuing coverage of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. I've just ordered the book (after consulting my public library and the Library of Congress selection of audio books, but to no avail). I paid slightly more than you did ($25) and am looking forward to it. Amazon gives you a few pages with their LOOK INSIDE!!! feature. I already have a comment about the style but I want to read the whole thing before I say anything.  See the link below for information about the author. It seems she wrote two other novelizations of well=known movies (availability???) and there is something there about her origins and her name. There is a fairly new thread about reading and books here on the board and I am preparing a little enthusiasm of my own for that thread or maybe even here (coming soon,! ha). But I am sure I will be coming back HERE after reading this book. I'm so glad you posted on this.. Books can be very exciting, especially when making a discovery, as you have with LAM. I had to read your excellent posts here rather gingerly though since I don't want to know too awfully much before reading it myself. And thank you for hating Kindle. So do I. Bleah!!!!

http://desturmobed.blogspot.com/2019/02/marie-coolidge-rask.html

--

I'm going to feel AWFUL if you HATE it and you spent $25 (and shipping?)

(I really do think you'll like it though!)

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

(Now I'm feeling all sorts of pressure for

I'm going to feel AWFUL if you HATE it and you spent $25 (and shipping?)

(I really do think you'll like it though!)

Yes, that's right, if I don't like it, it will be your fault that I spent that money.

:lol:

Actually, I consider it a win-win situation. If I don't like it my curiosity will at least be satisfied. And the happy anticipation is always a factor. And it will probably look good in the bookcase. Let's face it, like it or not, it's a curio.

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On 4/21/2019 at 8:34 PM, LornaHansonForbes said:

 

A 1928 Novelization of the famous lost MGM film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT was re-printed a few years ago, Complete with an introduction and the photos that were in the original edition.

The author is someone by the name of MARIE COOLIDGE RASK, Very little is known of her and I have a strong feeling that this was a pseudonym based rather deliberately on Marys Roberts Reinhardt and Belloc Lowndes.

 

Not a  pseudonym. Marie Coolidge (a distant relative of Calvin Coolidge) was married to Lieutenant Olaf Rask, USMC, who died of cholera in the Philippines in 1902. She wrote articles/short stories for several New York newspapers and magazines (at least as early as 1912) which were picked up by other papers across the U.S.

Her other novelizations were La Boheme and Sparrows.

During the 1948 Presidential campaign, she worked at Kings County Republican Headquarters in Kings, NY. She flatly stated "there is no question about it! Mr. Dewey will win!" Well ... she was wrong, but so were a lot of other people.

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14 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Not a  pseudonym. Marie Coolidge (a distant relative of Calvin Coolidge) was married to Lieutenant Olaf Rask, USMC, who died of cholera in the Philippines in 1902. She wrote articles/short stories for several New York newspapers and magazines (at least as early ad 1912) which were picked up by other papers across the U.S.

Her other novelizations were La Boheme and Sparrows.

During the 1948 Presidential campaign, she worked at Kings County Republican Headquarters in Kings, NY. She flatly stated "there is no question about it! Mr. Dewey will win!" Well ... she was wrong, but so were a lot of other people.

This information was provided in a link above but I suppose we must share the glory :lol: .

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3 minutes ago, laffite said:

This information was provided in a link above but I suppose we must share the glory :lol: .

My mistake, I didn't check it.

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