Tag Archives: catcher in the rye adaptation

Catcher In The Rye, Act II, Part III

JD_SalingerDespite a bit of a break, I’m still plugging away on Catcher. The next section wanders into some depressing territory that’s a bit hard to convey on-screen. There’s a lot of wandering around, indecision, memories, etc., which is a big point of the book and illustrates Holden’s state of mind, but translating this to the screen can be a challenge.

When I left off with Act II, Part II, Holden had just had the uncomfortable encounter with the young prostitute, Sunny. He sent her away without having sex with her but paid her the $5 her pimp, Maurice, said was the price of “a throw.” I really don’t like that terminology. Quite icky.

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Catcher In The Rye: Act II, Part 2

When we last left our hero, he was in the Lavender Room at the Edmont Hotel. The three ugly ladies from Seattle who he’d been dancing and drinking with got up to leave because they wanted to get up early to catch the first show at Radio City Music Hall, which depressed Holden to no end.


Holden sits on a worn, “vomity-looking” chair in the hotel lobby. He’s loosened his tie, undone some shirt buttons and stares out into space, one leg thrown over the arm of the chair.

Next to him, a JANITOR vacuums the lobby rug, standing in one place and only getting what he can reach at arm’s length.


A Doberman pinscher squats to pee on an immaculate green lawn in front of a well-kept house.

MRS. CAULFIELD, 43, slender with dark hair, opens the front door of the house and steps onto the porch.

MRS. CAULFIELD: Shoo! Get out of here! Go on!

The dog runs off. Mrs. Caulfield comes down the front walk and stands, hands on her hips, staring at the house next door.

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“Catcher In The Rye,” Act I

I’m getting started with the adaptation. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please read this first.

Opening scene: Arguably the most important scene in a film. Sets the mood, the tone, first impression. I’m a big believer in not having the first scene of a film be a “throwaway” scene. You know what bugs me? Movies that open with someone waking up to an alarm clock going off and then going through their morning routine, making the kids breakfast, getting the newspaper and all that jazz. YAWN. But I’m already digressing.

Here is the opening sequence, starting on Thomsen Hill at Pencey Prep in Agerstown, Pennsylvania.

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The Big If… “The Catcher In The Rye” Screenplay

JD_SalingerWhen J.D. Salinger died earlier this year, I felt ambivalent, despite the fact that I’d nearly worshiped him in high school as one of the only writers out there who “got” what it was like to be a smart and disillusioned teen. Somewhere along the line, I either stopped being a smart, disillusioned teen or realized that everyone believed themselves to be smart and disillusioned and so rejected it in favor of some other modus operandi.

Along the way, I also found out more about J.D. Salinger – his reclusive lifestyle, refusal to publish more novels, his dabbling in everything from Dianetics, homeopathy and macrobiotics to urine therapy – and I found it a big turn-off. In 1999, I read Joyce Maynard’s memoir At Home In The World, which painted a picture of a pathetic old man with high ideals cloistered away in a compound. This was not my hero. This was a mere mortal who was as confused about life as the rest of us.

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