June 6, 2018

TV Jibe: Hear now the news


  1. What follows has nothing to do with this cartoon, but I thought you might find it interesting.

    I've just finished watching a new Nero Wolfe TV-movie - from Italian television (RAI-Fiction, to be exact).
    It seems that Channel 20, one of our strayer PBS outlets here in Chicago, has joined up with an outfit called MHZ, which supplies programming in various foreign languages.

    Ch20 is taking a service which specializes in crime shows from all over, with emphasis on Western Europe - France, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and of course Italy.

    This new Nero Wolfe series stars Francesco Pannofino as Wolfe and Pietro Sermonti as Archie Goodwin.

    The series setup: It's 1959, and Wolfe has had a run-in with the FBI, whose director has "suggested" that he and Archie ought to vacate the USA for now, so they relocate to Rome and set themselves up at their old trade.

    This was the "pilot", so to speak: La Traccia Del Serpente (Snake Track), based on Rex Stout's first Wolfe novel, Fer-De-Lance.

    The movie (an hour and thirty-five minutes without ads) stays pretty close to Stout's plot; some condensation, since much time is spent on the moving scenes), and there's the matter of putting everything in an Italian setting as opposed to a New York one.

    And of course, there's everyone speaking Italian - including Wolfe and Archie, which took some getting used to (logical me kept wondering why W&A wouldn't be speaking English to each other in private; practical me simply accepted that this was an Italian TV production, intended for Wolfe fans in that nation).

    Side note: this wasn't the first time that RAI did a Wolfe series.
    Back in the '70s, they mounted a series that pretended to be in NYC, only everybody spoke Italian; Rex Stout allowed this because he'd never have to watch it himself (you can find some of these on YouTube).

    Anyway, if you can't get MHZ networks in Minnesota, this Italian Wolfe show is available here on DVD (which I ended up getting, because I wanted to see how they explained Nero and Archie becoming expats).
    There are eight episodes (all feature-length), all based on Stout novels; several were done on the A&E show back at the turn of the millennium, so the comparisons ought to be interesting, to say the least.

    And now, I pass this along to you, for what it's worth.

  2. MHZ has to be the best mystery channel on the planet, this is one of their weaker offerings.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!