Home Books “Endless Love,” A Great Novel Killed TWICE in One Lifetime by Hollywood

Poor “Endless Love.” Scott Spencer’s 1979 novel was superb. It was about obsession and class. Two years later it was turned into a terrible unwatchable movie by Franco Zeffirelli. Its two redeeeming features were a) Don Murray as the father of the girl, Jade, with whom the main character, David Axelrod, is obsessed and b) the title song, sung by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. It was a huge hit, maybe the biggest the real Motown label ever had.

So that should have been it. “Endless Love” should have been returned to the bookshelves. Scott Spencer is one of our best, most underrated novelists of the last 35 years. His language is rich and his images are powerful. He may not be meant for movie translation. The movie, if it had just died, would have left no memory.

But now, of course, the prospect of killing “Endless Love” a second time was just too tantalizing. What could the producers have said to Spencer besides, “Here’s the check”? Did they promise a great director, a sensational script, a way to redeem the novel from the first movie?

The new “Endless Love” is apparently a bomb. I won’t see it. I can’t see it. It’s too painful. The writers who contribute to RottenTomatoes.com have given it an 18 out of 100. That’s very very bad. The review are terrible. What did Scott Spencer do to deserve this? Alex Pettyfer? And the girl looks like a Barbie doll. Only Bruce Greenwood, playing Hugh, is said to rise to the occasion. I can see it. He’s a great actor. But one of them will not make a whole movie work.

What a sad ending. No redemption. Skip the movie. Buy the book and read it this weekend. It stands up. Take a look at Scott Spencer’s other books. Don’t blame him. But please, no more remakes of this movie. It’s too nuanced for a big studio production.

Oh and one other thing: you knew once the producers decided not to use the song, this was all over. What idiots. They could have had a monster hit with, say, John Legend and Christina Aguilara replacing Lionel and Diana. I can’t imagine what happened.

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