Monday, December 22, 2008

BEST CRIME FICTION EPISODE ON TV 2008: MONTALBANO

Update:This blog is dormant. I have moved to Crime Scraps Review where you can read all my old posts and lots of new material. http://crimescraps2.wordpress.com

My choices for my best five books of the year have been sent to Karen at Euro Crime and after I had sent them in I realized that I had not even mentioned Andrea Camilleri!
But last night I was feeling a bit better from my recent illness [bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis etc I am a man I don't get mere colds it is always more serious] and watched the first Montalbano episode I had recorded from BBC 4's Euro Sleuths season.

I can therefore create a new category alongside best crime fiction TV series in 2008, The Wire [what else], of best episode in a crime series, Montalbano, Excursion to Tindari.

The cast were almost perfect and although perhaps Luca Zingaretti, was a teeny bit younger than the Salvo Montalbano I had imagined, he made up for it with a virtuoso performance, which had me fully convinced well before the end of the episode. The supporting actors were superb with Cesare Bocci and Peppino Mazzota an example of perfect casting as Mimi Augello and Fazio.
Angelo Russo brillantly exhibited all the childlike vulnerability and bungling keenness of Catarella, although with subtitles a lot of the malapropisms were lost.

Food did not play such a major part in the TV production as it does in the books but there was recompense in the fact that Isabell Sollman as Ingrid and Katharina Bohm as Livia were even more gorgeous than the characters my imagination had created.

The stunning backdrop of the countryside around Ragusa, in Sicily, was beautifully filmed and the whole production was a real treat for Camilleri fans.

All the RAI TV episodes can be watched without subtitles here but let us hope the BBC show all the rest or they are released on DVD soon.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Karen C said...

We have been lucky enough to have a few of these translated and broadcast on SBS TV here - so there are 2 subtitled DVD's available in Australia - I think I got my copies from Dymocks. I agree with your summation of the main character - initially he wasn't quite as old as I had imagined, but he is so magnificently grumpy I ended up thoroughly enjoying his portrayal. And you are so right about the setting - the place that they film these is absolutely glorious.

12:40 PM  
Blogger WhereDunnit said...

Strange - I didn't enjoy the two Montalbano episodes at all, though I like the novels. I found the humour distinctly forced and unamusing. The scenery was pretty, but it's Italy - that's only to be expected.

The two episdoes of the Swedish Wallander were much better, IMO.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Karen, I wonder if your TV system in Australia is the same as in the UK ?
I will check on this but I have one more episode to watch, bliss.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Steph I have not watched either the Branagh or the Swedish Wallanders yet so can't compare them.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Montalbano episode I watched and Excursion to Tindari is one of my favourite Camilleri books. It just shows we all have different opinions.
When I have watched the Wallanders I will post again.

4:28 PM  
OpenID maxine said...

We watched these over the past few nights (the TV Camilleris) and before that the TV Wallanders. In neither case were they the books, but I think I enjoyed the Camilleris more - even though falling asleep during quite a bit of both of them. They seemed truer to the spirit of the books, somehow. And the Italy....well, fabolous - people (I expect you found some of the pulchitrude rather charming, Norman) and scenery and way of life....ahhh...makes me want to go there on holiday. (Maybe might even tempt you out of your Yurt?)

2:51 AM  
OpenID maxine said...

PS Did you think of Salvo as having no hair (and a moustache) in the books? I was quite surprised at the lack of hair in the film as I'd imagined him (as I do all Italian men I now realise!) with dark hair. Or is it intended to be some kind of super-modish "no 1 cut" hairstyle?

5:07 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Maxine the filming made Italy look very tempting even with the £ at nearly parity with the Euro.
Italy=beautiful women+fabulous food. Or should that be fabulous women and beautiful food. ;O)
The hair or lack of it seems to be the trend now among the young my son Ben has no hair and looks like Luca Zingaretti.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Karen C said...

I think our DVD coding is for a different region - although I confess we have one of those multi-region players so we buy our DVD's from everywhere.

Just on the Swedish Wallender - I love that series as well, but I can't decide what to do about the Branagh version - at this stage I'm leaning to "unlikely to watch". I think I prefer sub-titled foreign characters, set in their own locations. Which reminds me - keep an eye out for The Eagle and Unit One - fantastic police dramas from Denmark.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had never heard of Montalbano, and caught it by chance on TV. I think it's one of the best tv detective series I've seen in ages. Everything from the acting, to the script, to the comedy, to the scenery. The Italian was really quite clear, however, not real Sicilian at all. But great.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Australia does indeed have Region 4 DVD coding, unlike the UK, but multi-region players are more common there, so you might want to have a look. All the Montalbano episodes have been released on DVD here, and are pretty easy to find. (The clearness of the Italian was a bonus for me, incidentally - I can understand it fairly well, but I'm hopeless with dialect.)

Karen, I agree entirely about The Eagle and Unit One in particular (I thought the latter was brilliant) - to the extent that SBS and Danish television really should be giving me a commission, given the number of people I've persuaded to watch/buy!

For the Wallander fanatics, there's yet another set of Swedish telemovies out there, based on the earlier books. The one I've seen was rather good, but the series isn't easy to find. (The version shown on the BBC recently have again all been released on DVD in Aus.)

Merry Christmas, everyone - am home in sunny Sydney for the holidays and am mostly offline.

7:02 PM  

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