Friday, July 29, 2016

The night manager

I probably bought my copy of John Le Carré's novel shortly after its publication in 1994. I have always enjoyed the book and have repeated the experience of reading it several times over the years. I discovered a few months ago that the book had been turned into a television series, but expected that it would be some time before I would be able to see it.

A few weeks ago, whilst idly zapping through the channels on our television, I discovered a new channel, AMC, which "primarily airs theatrically released movies, along with a limited amount of original programming". One piece of original programming is - you guessed it - "The Night Manager".

The first episode which I saw was the third, which began with the attempted kidnapping of Roper's son, Daniel (for those who don't know the book nor the series, this will mean nothing). OK, I thought. This means that the first episode would have been Switzerland interposed with Cairo, and the second Cornwall and Canada. Due to problems with the blank dvd discs which I have, I only watched (and recorded to dvd) the third and fourth episodes, whilst recording (and leaving on the 'Yes Max' machine) the fifth, sixth and seventh episodes.

Wait a minute: seventh episode? IMDB lists only six. What is happening here? The other day I downloaded a Blu-ray rip of the series: I now have all the episodes on computer (and dvd), but without subtitles. This version only has six episodes. We watched the first episode, which was slightly different from what I expected, but was in chronological order: Cairo preceded Switzerland. But it was the second episode which caused internal turmoil: this began with the kidnapping!

Only when I watched the second episode did I realise what must have happened: each Blu-ray episode is at least 50 minutes long, making the whole thing 300 minutes in duration. The AMC version has seven episodes, each about 43 minutes long: also 300 minutes. Presumably they cut and pasted scenes to make the story more palatable, and maybe even cut out some. I quite agree that beginning the second episode with the kidnapping (which has moved from the Bahamas to Mallorca, no doubt due to budgetary reasons) is very jarring; it would have been better to move the Cornwall part (transposed to Devon, presumably not for budgetary reasons!) to the beginning of episode two, then continue with the kidnapping. 

I hope that there aren't any more major edits.

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