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Tag Archives: Doctor Syn

A Pair of Synners

12 Oct

October 12, 2019

 

This is Doctor Syn: A Smuggler Tale of Romney Marsh, written by Russell Thorndyke and published in 1915.

From Wikipedia, which can’t be wrong about a book this old, right?:

Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh is the first in the series of Doctor Syn novels by Russell Thorndike. In this story we are introduced to the complex Christopher Syn, the kindly vicar of the little town of Dymchurch. Syn seems pleasant but we soon learn that he has a sinister past. At one time he was the vicious pirate Captain Clegg and he is also the mysterious “Scarecrow of Romney Marsh”, masked leader of the local smugglers.

This was filmed a few times, first in 1937, then in 1962 as Captain Clegg starring Peter Cushing, and again in 1963 as Dr. Syn, alias The Scarecrow, part of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color TV series starring Patrick McGoohan. This version is hard to find as it had only a limited home video release and copies go for big bucks.

Luckily, the Disney version had a novel adaptation by prolific Disney author Vic Crume.

 

 

The novel was turned into a movie, and the movie turned back into a novel by a different author.

You have to admit that doesn’t happen too often.

So the plan is to read the original Russell Thorndyke novel and then the Disney novelization of the film, and see what the heck Disney did to it. To be fair, the Disney film is highly regarded. 

It’s a little like the old children’s game of telephone, where a short sentence is whispered to one child, then passed along from ear to ear, then finally getting to the last child in, usually, a phrase unrecognizable from the original. This is essentially a novel to film to novel game of telephone.

I’m very curious to see where this goes.

 

 

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