Thursday, July 14, 2016

Craig A. Monson's "Habitual Offenders," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Habitual Offenders: A True Tale of Nuns, Prostitutes, and Murderers in Seventeenth-Century Italy, by Craig A. Monson.

The entry begins:
Several friends have remarked Habitual Offenders might work better as a TV series than as a movie, given its episodicity, shifts of time and place, secondary characters that appear, loom large for a while, then disappear. One screenwriting challenge (or creative opportunity) involves the book’s “leading ladies,” who have fled the convent before page 1 and turn up dead around page 85; they are much spoken of but barely speak (at least in the book). It really seems more like a “guy movie,” but one more about acting than action. Given the financial challenges of “costume dramas,” at least in this one the women’s outfits would come relatively cheap: nuns, housemaids, nothing fancier than a medium-grade courtesan. Dressing the men might be costlier: lots of lace, both in and out of church.

A significant angle in terms of casting: in their time, the leading ladies were perceived as “old dearies”: both are a decade older than their respective alleged seducers. Several of the spectacularly misbehaving males are around the age of today’s college pranksters. In the book’s two “love scenes” (overheard through a locked door), the man is 31 and the woman, 40.

Sister Laura Vittoria: an ex-prostitute turned nun and still a head-turner at age 30—5'10", with flagrantly red hair (hence her trade name “La Rossa”), lovely white complexion, beautiful hands, lively personality, vivid imagination, but with a long scar running down her left cheek (a work related injury). In love with Donato Guarnieri. Susan Sarandon—yes, I know I’m thinking White Palace, and I know that was 1990 and that Sarandon is now nearing 70, but nevertheless… . Or perhaps Allison Janney or Jessica....[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Nuns Behaving Badly.

The Page 99 Test: Habitual Offenders.

Writers Read: Craig A. Monson.

My Book, The Movie: Habitual Offenders.

--Marshal Zeringue