Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I finished re-reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' A PRINCESS OF MARS. As you may recall I found this copy at a garage sale a couple of weeks back and I have been reading it off and on since. I have not read the book since I was about thirteen years old.

At first I was surprised about how much of the book I remembered. That lasted up until about the third chapter. I'm not sure if that is because the earlier chapters made such an impression on me at thirteen or whether it was because I had read so many comic book adaptations after the fact. Either way, after chapter three it was like reading a whole new book.

Naturally, as I was reading it, I was keeping in mind that it is being adapted into a huge spectacle of a film by Andrew Stanton at Disney. We've seen the teaser trailer and I've read descriptions of some of the completed scenes that jive more or less with the book as written.

The book has many great action sequences that will translate well to film (in fact most of the best scenes from the book have already been filmed, but as parts of other SF and fantasy movies -- yes, I'm talking to you, George Lucas!).

Well, I know the movie will be what it will be, but there is one thing that I know and that is this: The movie that played in my head as I was reading the book will never be filmed. The book will also never be filmed faithfully, at least not by a major studio and that is for one reason only: the characters in the book are all buck naked. John Carter, Deja Thoris, the Tharks, the Zodongans,  the Heliumites, every single denizen of Barsoom is described in no uncertain terms as being naked as the day they were born. How could a major studio (let a lone Disney!) ever be able to release a film where the entire cast had to be "tackle-out" for the entire film?

Even the illustrators, including Frank Frazetta, gave way to modesty and covered the characters up, even if some depictions only had their privates covered or obscured.

So, unless the porn industry were to take a stab at it (Sasha Grey as Deja Thoris?), there will never be a completely faithful adaptaiton of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A PRINCESS OF MARS. Such an adaptation would cause quite the scandal today. Maybe something like it could have been attempted in the early seventies, but not today in these prudish times. Imagine if Ralph Bakshi had tried it -- an x-rated animated adaptation? Every scene would have had nudity and many of the sequences would have been quite bloody, as Burroughs describes them.

Perhaps Ralph Bakshi's A PRINCESS OF MARS is the cult classic that never happened, but perhaps should have.

I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?

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