The James Purdy Society
Types and Examples of Available Properties,
with Notations of Past Interest
James Purdy is a high velocity personality with tremendous emotional potency. He is also a gentleman who has never fallen prey to decadence or appetite This permeates every character and situation he depicts. Whether his characters are repressed and these traits become subtextual (the characters are in strong inner turmoil) or whether they are cut loose and unable to restrain themselves, the net effect is situation after situation of hypnotic and riveting power all of which is very entertaining.
He also has tremendous variety and writes characters of different gender, sexual orientation, race and age with equal dexterity.
His work can be broken down into four basic categories (though everything he has written embodies degrees of each of the groupings). The most viable properties for potential film production are listed according to type.
1. Serious Dramatic - Naturalistic
The Nephew, Jeremyís Version, Mournerís Below, Eustace Chisholm and the Works (scripted by Howard Brookner), Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue, 63 Dream Palace (the inspiration and prototype for the film Midnight Cowboy it was optioned for a musical by Scott Rudin made into an opera by Hans Jurgen von Bose and scripted for a film by Elfi Mikesh) Brice
2. Serious Dramatic - Mythic/Poetic/Archetypal
The House of the Solitary Maggot, Narrow Rooms (Derek Jarman was within days of filming this with Matt Dillon but at the last second the BBC pulled the money they later publicly apologized and he died without making the film he had hoped would be his crowning achievement), Ruthanna Elder, In the Night of Time, Where Quentin Goes, In A Shallow Grave (filmed by Ken Bowser for American Playhouse Theatrical Films with Michael Biehn)
3. Comic-Dramatic - Outrageous/Eccentric/Vaudeville
I Am Elijah Thrush (scripted by Lindsay Kemp), Malcolm (adapted for the stage by Ruth Ford and adapted for the stage by Edward Albee), Out With the Stars, Cabot Wright Begins (optioned for George Segal by MGM)
4. Fairy Tale.
The Paradise Circus, The White Blackbird, Kitty Blue