Could it be a movie?: Stories from Ellery Queen’s (Part 1)

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Welcome to “Could it be a movie?,” a segment in which TMP reads stuff and tells you whether or not the written materials would make good movies. In this installment, we look at two stories from a 1977 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

“The Rescue of Professor Parkinson”

Who wrote it?: William Bankier
Where does it appear?: October 1977 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

(Scanned by TMP from my personal collection)
(Scanned for TMP from my personal collection)

Plot: A group of students kidnap a beloved professor in hopes of gaining more student representation in their university’s administration. As the group’s occupation of the library and holding of their hostage drags on, Professor Parkinson just may be able to make an escape. With the help of his barber who once read about a clever identity-switching escape in a history book, Professor Parkinson is able to fool his captors and gain his freedom.

Would it make a good movie?: This story is kind of anti-climactic, but it would make a great slow-burning black and white drama. The characters would need to be developed more fully and the suspense would need to be taken up a notch, but it has a lot of potential. Plus, as an aspiring librarian, I can’t help but love the pro-library/pro-book sentiment of the story.

“Henry’s Eighth”

Who wrote it?: Elizabeth McCoy
Where does it appear?: October 1977 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Plot: Henry (not of the Tudor dynasty) has killed his seven wives in the past, but he is having trouble getting rid of his eighth. After a third failed attempt at causing her death, he decides to keep her around… with some consequence. She’s as adoring as ever, but when she invites a man who may be from Henry’s past to the house, it could mean big trouble for the murderous man.
Would it make a good movie?: This story has a great twist of an ending. It may make for a good psychological thriller if Henry was adapted as a character similar to Bruno in Strangers on a Train. The inclusion of flashbacks to the previous wives and more action rather than just introspection would also be needed in order for the film to be truly gripping and successful.

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